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How to find the perfect rental

By George Hadgelias

Once you’ve assessed your budget and determined where you would like to rent – it’s time to start hunting.

Locating the rental property that is right for you can take a lot of time and effort, but there are a few ways how you can find the perfect rental without too much fuss.

Rental vacancy search

These days there is a wide variety of options that you can use to search for rental accommodation. The possibilities include:

Online

The internet is a useful way to narrow down your search to find properties that meet your own specific criteria including size, location, cost and whether you can have pets. You can use our rental page to access currently listed properties online. If you also register you can be notified by email when new houses and properties, matching your requirements become available.

Read more: First time renters: what you need to know

Newspapers

The classified sections of metropolitan, suburban and community newspapers can be an excellent source of available rental properties. Normally, rental properties are listed under headings such as: accommodation, vacancies and shared accommodation.

Real estate agents

As well as selling properties, real estate agents are a tremendous source of rental properties on the market – and many agencies offer property management services as well. It is best to list yourself with a number of agencies and let them know your rental requirements. Also give yourself as broad coverage of your preferred location as possible, so you are likely to hear about rental properties before they are advertised, along with newly listed rentals nearby.

University and campus accommodation

Universities, TAFEs and other education providers often know about accommodation associated with their campuses or close at hand for their students. It is best to contact them direct to discover what they have on offer and many will also list options on their websites.

Shop windows and community noticeboards

Shopping centres, cafés, libraries and other community locations often have noticeboards that display available rental properties. Community noticeboards are a great way of advertising the fact you are looking for rental accommodation as well. You should specify your desired weekly rent level range and preferred locality.

Family and friends

Never forget to tell others that you are searching for somewhere to rent or even put out a call on social media. The message might make it through to someone who knows about the perfect place to lease. You might also hear about potential flatmates.

Inspecting the rental property

You should always inspect a property before you agree to rent it – never sign a lease after a series of telephone conversations or an email chat. Checking a property doesn’t take long and will confirm whether it is the right rental property for you. Your searching will probably result in viewing several properties; record your impressions to make comparisons easier.

Don’t forget to consider:

  • Size – number of bedrooms, bathrooms, size of kitchen
  • General appearance – check for problems such as risking damp or leaks
  • Features in working order – oven, shower
  • Proximity to work or university, family and friends, shopping facilities
  • Access to public transport or major roads
  • Garage, under-cover parking or off-street parking
  • Backyard, courtyard or balcony
  • Appealing environment – low noise, near to amenities
  • Privacy and security
  • Special features – adaptation for handicapped, storage space

If you like a particular property but find it needs some minor repairs, ask the landlord or agent to fix these problems. Ensure you have any agreement in writing before making a commitment to move in.

Lodging your rental application

Upon discovery of your ideal accommodation, you will need to complete a rental application form. This normally means providing the following details:

  • Your name
  • Your current address and telephone number
  • Your occupation
  • Your current employer
  • Proof of your income
  • Rental references

You might be asked to provide information concerning personal finances, such as any loans you may have and the value of your savings. In some states these questions are unlawful – check with the tenants’ advice service in your state.

Watch out for irrelevant questions, such as your race, sex, marital status or religious affiliation. These types of questions are unlawful and discriminatory. It may take several weeks for your application to be processed.

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