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Rent Busters: What you can and can’t do in a rental

By George Hadgelias

As a tenant, it can be hard to know what you can and can’t do in your rental. Sure, it feels like your home, but the sad fact is that it’s not.

Rental reforms are currently taking place across the country and Victoria is leading the way, making it easier for tenants to have pets, longer leases and easier applications with 1form.

However, it’s still good to know what you can and can’t do in your rental – and most of the time it comes down to simply asking your property manager for permission.

Here are some burning questions, answered…

Can I put a picture hook on my wall?

The short answer is no, until you get permission from your landlord. This applies nationwide.

Basically, you should be leaving the rental in the same condition as you found it – so holes in the wall won’t cut it.

However, even if your landlord says no to a picture hook, there are other options to ensure your art still has a place in your household.

Sticky picture hooks and picture hanging rail systems are a couple of options. It can also look trendy to lean your artwork against the wall or propped up on side tables.

Can I organise a tradie to come and look at something broken?

The best thing to do in this situation is to ask your property manager. Some things that break are your responsibility as the tenant to fix, but other things are up to the landlord.

The general rule of thumb is that if you break it, it’s your job to fix it. For example, you will need to call out a tradie if you break a window by throwing a footy through it, or damage a wall during a party.

However, the landlord is responsible for most structural issues that come up – for example, if there’s a leak in the ceiling, a blocked toilet, or the provided dishwasher stops working.

When these sorts of issues come up, you just need to call up the property manager and then wait for a call from the tradie who will organise a time to come out. If you can’t be at home, they will get a spare key from the property manager. The landlord generally has four weeks to organise the repairs once reported.

If it’s urgent, the landlord has 24 hours to organise the repair, or the tenant can book the repairs themselves with an authorised limit in place for reimbursement. Just make sure you keep the receipts and take before and after photos.

I’m going on holiday, can I rent out my room short-term?

It’s no secret that many tenants list their rooms on short-term leasing sites like Airbnb to ensure their rent is paid while they’re away. However, this is actually not allowed, unless you have written permission from your landlord.

In fact, many landlords across the country are starting to put an Airbnb clause into their tenancy agreement to prevent this from happening.

The main reason for this is to protect the property – a sub-letter isn’t signed onto the lease, which means they aren’t liable when things go wrong in the home.

Can I bring my pet snake into the house?

Pets aren’t just cats and dogs, they can be any animal! It is up to the landlord whether or not you can bring pets into the house – but tenancy acts are starting to become more lenient around this clause.

In Victoria for instance – which leads the way in terms of tenants’ pet rights – the tenant can apply with their pet or ask the landlord for permission to bring a pet into their pre-existing rental. The onus will be on the landlord to get approval from VCAT to refuse consent to a pet.

Can I throw a house party?

Yes! As long as you realise that you are responsible for any damage to the property.

Also, just be aware that if you’re throwing a regular ‘doof sesh’ at your house, it’s more than likely your neighbours will report you to your property manager or landlord. This could lead to your lease not being renewed or a breach of duty warning, which you definitely don’t want.

So while you don’t want to be Cory Worthington in the eyes of your landlord, your rental is also meant to be enjoyed during your residence. It’s all about keeping a balance.

Make sure when you’re searching for your next rental that you sign into your MYREA account. By having an account, you can save the rentals you want to apply for later, keep up-to-date on new rentals in the market within your preferred neighbourhoods, and contact listing agents to find out more about the property. When searching for your dream rental, it’s worth setting up your 1form profile. With all your information in one place, you can apply with just a click of a button to as many properties as you like.

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