When you’re moving into a new place, there are a lot of things to think about. Getting the right location, in the right price point and falling in love with the property are often the first things we think of. When you find a property that ticks off all of those things, what questions should we be asking to ensure that our experience during the lease term is as good as it can be? Below are five important questions to ask before you sign your lease.
Is there any material information I should know?
Most states make it a requirement for property managers to tell you before signing the lease if the landlord intends to put it up for sale, but there are also other facts that must be disclosed so it’s a good idea to ask this to ensure you have all the information.
Some relevant facts would be:
- If there has been a serous violent crime at the premises in the past 5 years
- If the property has been affected by bushfires or flooding in the past 5 years
- If there are any considerable health and safety risks that aren’t immediately obvious
- If you aren’t entitled to a free residential parking permit (for properties where parking is not included)
- If your waste disposal is different to that of people in your council area
- If the premises has a driveway that other people have access to
Are there any restrictive terms in the lease?
Most landlords provide a standardised lease but these can be added to with additional clause. You should read your lease careful to see what these clauses are and how they will affect you.
If your landlord has added that you cant use a communal area after a certain time or they have tried to impose a curfew (which is actually illegal) then that is a sign that your landlord may be difficult to get along with!
Am I allowed to make alterations?
Different states have different laws about what alterations can be made with and without permission, but if there is anything you intend on doing (such as installing air conditioning or painting the walls) its a good idea to ask if the landlord would be receptive to this beforehand.
You can also check if they plan to make any alterations themselves which would affect you, for better or worse!
What are the Strata rules that will affect me?
Not being allowed to hang your washing on the balcony, pet restrictions and noise curfews are common in strata buildings. Its a good idea to find out what rules you will need to abide by when you move in to see if you are comfortable with them.
Remember, your landlord doesn’t have a say in these rules, but they will be aware of them and should pass them on to you as the tenant.
How often has the property been rented out in the past few years?
This will give you a good indication of how pleasant it is to live there! If the property has had more than one tenant per year, that could be a warning sign.
On the flip side, if the property had one long term tenant before you, there may be updates to the property that need doing.
Remember, this property will be your home, so its ok to ask questions to ensure you will be comfortable there.
Every state in Australia has its own laws. To find out laws in your state/territory as a tenant, see below.
NSW - Tenants’ Union of NSW / NSW Fair Trading
VIC – Tenants Victoria / Consumer Affairs Victoria
QLD – Queensland Government
ACT – Tenants’ Union ACT Inc
SA– Government of SA / Consumer & Business Services
TAS – Tenants Union of Tasmania / Tasmanian Gov
WA – Tenancy WA / Government of WA
NT- Northern Territory Consumer Affairs
For FREE tailored advice you can join our Private Facebook where we have partnered with several authorities to provide advice on all things renting. Just search for Tenants/renters FREE Advice and Help Group NSW on facebook.
Want to find your next rental property yourself without using an agent? Use Dwell Nicely property app.
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