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5 ‘d’oh!’ renter moments and how to avoid them

By George Hadgelias

We all have those blunder moments in life we’d much rather forget. Sometimes, all you can do is laugh at yourself. Other times, like when it concerns the roof over your head, the results can have a real impact on your life. 

We spoke to five current renters each with their own ‘d’oh moment’ story to tell.

Here’s what you can learn from their mistakes.

1. Not protecting your stuff

“I once had my laptop stolen while I wasn’t home,” Alex, who was renting in Melbourne at the time, says.

“I shared the house with my partner and we don’t know if someone snuck in while he was taking out the bins or if someone came in through the window. We lived on an alley which had the odd sketchy character there. Fortunately the laptop was all they took.”

The risk of theft is apparent in any home, whether you rent or own. Avoid getting stung by the unexpected costs of replacing items by getting contents insurance in advance of moving into your rental for all your belongings – including those most precious to you.

As well as covering for the loss or damage to your belongings, Youi Contents Insurance will also provide other benefits. It offers temporary accommodation, cover while you move and counselling sessions if you’re involved in an insured event where a claim is accepted.

2. Not hooking up your utilities

You might think this is a hard one to forget, but it can happen!

“It was the first time I’d ever lived alone and had my own lease — I just didn’t know I had to organise my own energy account!” Sydney renter, Rebecca, shares.

“When I moved in everything was operational, my electricity was on and so I just thought, ‘oh, sweet; how easy’. Months went by and no questions or bills arrived, so I just assumed it was all included.”

It wasn’t though, was it?

“It obviously caught up with me eventually. The energy company came a-knocking wondering how I’d ‘stolen’ all this electricity. So, naturally, I had to pay it all back.”

Even if you don’t get by on months of ‘free’ electricity, you also don’t want to spend your first nights or weeks without energy or internet. Get connected before you arrive.

3. Incorrectly informing your movers

Extra moving costs can bite hard and they usually occur if you haven’t properly measured or accounted for all your belongings before the move.

Andrew, from moving company Muval, says he has countless anecdotes of people purposefully, or accidentally, failing to note their contents correctly and being left with a truck that’s too small or a job that can’t be done for the original quote.

Adding an extra truck or trip to your move can cost a pretty penny at the last minute. Make sure you’ve triple checked the list of items and included their correct size in your quote form to the removalist.

4. Putting in notice before finding a new place

You’re required to give fair notice to your current landlord when planning to move out (check your state’s tenancy laws for the precise notice period). However, you don’t want to jump the gun and give notice before actually finding your next home.

“This happened to me as I was desperate to leave a rental,” Alice from eastern Sydney shares. “But when my relative’s accommodation offer fell through I had to stay on a friend’s couch while going to work during the day and spending night after night at inspections. It was stressful.”

Her advice?

“You may have to pay double rent for a short period. But make peace with this as it’s far better than being homeless while you frantically look for a place!”

5. Missing key locational facts

There are a variety of neighbourhood noise complaints that can arise unexpectedly. However, few are as shocking – or perhaps as loud – as being under a flight path.

“First night in my new apartment, I turn my lights off, settle in for sleep and boom, this plane roars right over our heads,” Sydney renter Ollie tells realestate.com.au.

“I hadn’t noticed until that point, but in the silence of night when you’re all settled down, it comes as quite the shock. I immediately just went, ‘oh no’.”

The moral of the story here is don’t forget to do a thorough scout of the location of your property and visit it multiple times before making the decision to move in.

So there you have it, five rental blunders and how to avoid them. As you can see, it always pays to listen to your fellow renter and learn from them, so get chatting to your friends and family who’ve done it all before.

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