Renting

Renting means agreeing to live in a property owned by someone else for a regular payment.

The owner of a property, also known as a landlord (or lessor), can rent out a property privately (where you have direct contact with the owner) or through a real estate agency. You as the person renting are the tenant.

When renting, the tenant has the right to ‘exclusive possession’ of the property that they are renting. This means that he or she is given permission to stay in the house and can exclude anyone from the premises including the landlord or the agent.

You will usually need to sign a lease before you start living in a rental property. You will be asked to pay a bond of approximately 4 weeks rent plus 2 weeks rent in advance.

Before you start looking for a property you should:

  • know which suburb you want a home in and what size property you need;
  • select a property that you know you can maintain;
  • work out and set your rental budget;
  • have a think about what you need in a property such as parking, disability access, a backyard or whether you would like to have pets; and
  • know whether you are living by yourself or sharing with others.

Differences between states

Northern Territory

NT Consumer Affairs have some useful online resources with further information about renting – visit their website for more details, or call 1800 019 319.

You can contact the Tenants Advice Service, though the Darwin Community Legal Service for more information about renting and the law by phoning 1800 812 953. You can also visit the Tenants Advice Service website to access fact sheets on renting.

ACT

There are services that may be able to assist you with your bond like Housing ACT Rental Bonds Loan Scheme.

Western Australia

The WA Department of Commerce has a useful tenant’s guide for renting a home in Western Australia. A Community Legal Centre called Tenancy WA can also provide you with additional information and advice.

In addition to your normal rental bond, if you have a pet you may have to pay a pet bond.

NSW

Visit the Tenants NSW website  to access fact sheets on renting and for contact details for Tenants Advice and Advocacy Services which are available to all tenants in NSW depending on where you live.

Victoria

For information about renting and also about what to do when things go wrong, check out the links below:

Tasmania

In Tasmania, Colony 47 may be able to assist you with bond and rent assistance for public and community housing as well as for private rental accommodation through their Housing Connect program.

Queensland

The Residential Tenancies Authority is a good resource for more information about renting in Queensland.