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Setting up your rental property

By George Hadgelias

Being approved for a rental will often fill you with joy and even a sense of relief. But being accepted is only the first step on the journey. After this, you will need to sign your lease, pay your bond, pick up the keys and do you condition report. But there is a whole host of things on your to-do list next to get your rental up and running.

1. Connect your utilities

Making sure you have power and gas when you move in can make your transition into a rental easier and more comfortable, so it’s a good idea to organise your utilities in advance.

You can call up your provider and organise to have everything turned on the day you move in. But the company will need a few days to set this up in advance.

Be sure to do research on your provider to make sure you get the best deals. Also consider whether you want a long or short contract and adjust your plan accordingly.

2. Moving in

Moving day can be stressful – the secret is to have a game plan to make everything run smoothly.

Here is a checklist of everything you need to think about for the big day:

  • Have everything boxed and ready to go before movers arrive to avoid wasting their time and your money.
  • Ensure appliances like fridges have been turned off at least 24 hours prior so they are ready to relocate.
  • Name boxes with their contents and room to help deliver them straight to their ideal position.
  • Sweep, mop and clean all surfaces before you start unpacking.
  • If you have young kids or animals consider finding them a play date or somewhere to go during the move.
  • Make a day pack in advance, which should include a phone charger, any medications, food, water, toothbrush and items for any animals. Anything you might need while unpacking.
  • Fill out your condition report and take photos before you begin.
  • Make beds first and settle any kids or pets, if they are with you, before you get cracking with the unpacking.

3. Essentials that every rental needs

Making your new home feel like it’s yours can be a lot of fun.

But it also requires a lot of thought about exactly what you need to make a house a home – not to mention a whole lot of decorating.

  • Kitchenware – Eating is essential so it’s best to be prepared and have all the tableware and cutlery you need along with cooking implements like pots, pans and wooden spoons.
  • Furniture – This sounds like a no brainer, but many people delay buying bigger items when it’s best to bite the bullet early on. Necessary items include a couch, chairs, television and tables.
  • Bed sheets – Clean linen is one of the most welcoming things after a big day moving. Don’t forget all the rest of the linen too, including towels and tea towels.
  • Cleaning supplies – Be prepared and come with mops, brushes, cloths, and cleaning agents, so you can clean as you unpack.
  • Toiletries – Toothbrushes, toothpaste and toilet paper.
  • Luxuries – For some people this may be books candles or incense, for others it might be art to decorate your space. Regardless of what your luxury items are, be sure to include them to help you settle in.

4. Quick fixes to decorate your rental

Obviously, a house renovation is off the cards when you are renting but there are a few quick hacks that will help make a rental feel more homely.

  • Lighting – swap any lightbulbs over to your desired colour, such as warm yellow bulbs to create ambiance. Also bring in lamps to craft the mood.
  • Indoor plants – greenery can instantly soften a room and will not damage walls.
  • Rugs – to hide wooden floors and to communicate your own style.
  • New bedding – can help you settle in and create a design aesthetic.
  • Hang art – while you may have to get permission to put in more wall hooks, it will be worth it with art being a great way to communicate your style.
  • Accessorise – cushions, rugs, throws, vases and mirrors. Homewares can help individualise a rental.
  • Change the shower curtain – these make a funky or colourful addition to the bathroom and can help set the tone or theme for what would otherwise be a plain white bathroom.
  • Portable kitchen island – if your rental lacks bench space, then a portable island or butchers block can be a useful addition.
  • Swap curtains – this can be a simple and effective way to dress rooms and bring in colour without making any permanent changes.

5. How to maintain your rental property

Rentals are not set and forget.

As a tenant you are required to maintain a property and this can take money and time.

This includes mowing the lawn, weeding the garden, keeping toilets clean, washing walls occasionally and replacing light bulbs.

A key point to remember is putting in a little effort regularly is much easier than tackling a massive clean when you need to move out.

There are exceptions when it comes to maintenance and this includes major repairs, like fixing leaking taps and appliances, that are the responsibility of your landlord and should be raised early on to avoid aggravating any issue.

6. Common mistakes to avoid

Scarcity of property, or simply stress, can make it easy for renters to rush into a lease agreement. But once you move in, you’re committed for the long haul so here are some common mistakes to avoid.

Not reading the fine print – lease agreements can occasionally have end of lease requirements, or rules and additional requests that may take you by surprise.

Choosing the wrong dwelling – apartment living and house living offer vastly different lifestyles and while we can adapt, it can be costly to end a lease, so be sure about what type of property you need and want.

Not doing an in-depth condition report – it’s easy to underestimate the importance of a condition report, especially when you are viewing your new home with rose-coloured glasses.

Not evaluating the neighbourhood – often tenants have tunnel vision and can fail to take a good look at the area and neighbours, which could have an impact on your residency.

Not getting things fixed early – renters can easily ignore small issues like a faulty stove or leaking tap, but this could be hiding a bigger problem. Raise issues with your landlord as soon as you notice them.

Not putting new housemates on the lease – it can be annoying filling out the paperwork but it does bring peace of mind. Any flatmate who is not on the lease has no legal responsibility and could leave you with the cost if they skip town without paying rent or damaging the property.

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