Looking to rent

What are my responsibilities as a tenant? When renting, little problems can turn into big problems if you are not aware of who is responsible for taking care o...
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Looking to rent?

The following advice is of a general nature only and intended as a broad guide. The advice should not be regarded as legal, financial or real estate advice. You should make your own inquiries and obtain independent professional advice tailored to your specific circumstances before making any legal, financial or real estate decisions. Click here for full Terms of Use.

Can the landlord or property manager access my home during my tenancy?

Yes, your landlord or managing agent has the right to enter the property under specific circumstances to inspect the property and/or conduct maintenance. However:
  • You must be given appropriate notice prior to the landlord accessing the rental property
  • These circumstances are spelt out in your tenancy agreement and include routine inspections and maintenance repairs

How should I report maintenance?

It is very important to report all maintenance to your landlord or managing agent as soon it you notice any fault.  Failure to notify your landlord or managing agent may see you held responsible for further damage if not mentioned at the initial stage of the fault.
  • If the matter is urgent, contact your landlord or managing agent immediately by telephone
  • If the matter is non-urgent it is advisable that you contact the landlord or managing agent in writing and keep a copy of your own records
  • Items classified as urgent are usually highlighted in your tenancy agreement or renter’s rights booklet provided by the landlord or managing agent.

Can I stop paying rent if the landlord refuses to do maintenance?

No, unfortunately not. Your rental payments are not related to any maintenance issues. By withholding rent you would be in breach of your tenancy agreement.

What should I do if my request for maintenance has not received the attention I believe it deserves?

If you feel your attempts to address maintenance issues have been overlooked by your First National agent, and you believe your enjoyment or safety at your rental home is affected, you should take appropriate action by:
  • Contacting the principal of your First National office to discuss
  • If disastisfied with his/her response, contact First National Real Estate's national administration, or
  • Make an application through your state’s governing body to have the matter heard before an adjudicator or magistrate (whichever applies)
  • Each state has a department of fair trading, consumer affairs office, or similar department which has a customer call centre that you contact in order to discuss your problem, free of charge

NSW Department of Fair Trading Ph: 13 32 20
Consumer Affairs Victoria, Residential Tenancies Info Ph: 1300 558 181
Queensland Residential Tenancies Authority Ph: 1300 366 311
SA Office of Consumer and Business Affairs, Residential Tenancies Advice Ph: (08) 8204 9555
WA Department of Consumer & Employment Protection Ph: 1300 30 40 54
TAS Office of Consumer Affairs & Fair Trading Ph: 1300 65 44 99
NT Consumer and Business Affairs Ph: 1800 019 319
ACT Department of Fair Trading Ph: (02) 6207 0400

    
    







Can I rent a property with a pet?

Yes, absolutely, as long as the rental property has suitable provision to do so, and you have approval by the landlord or managing agent prior.  Use First National’s ‘Pet Friendly’ search feature by ticking the 'Pet Friendly' check box when searching our vacancies.
  • You must disclose this information on your rental application when applying for any rental property  
  • Failing to advise your landlord or managing agent may see you in breach of your tenancy agreement and there could be further implications as a result of your non disclosure
  • It’s best to be up-front so you get the full enjoyment of your new rental home

How can I terminate my tenancy agreement?

In order to end your tenancy, you must give notice to the landlord or managing agent in writing, in accordance with the tenancy agreement.
  • Even if your fixed term contract is about to expire, you still need to give written notice of your intention to vacate the rental property and give adequate notice of days as stated in your tenancy agreement, otherwise the tenancy will continue on a month by month basis until either party gives notice to end the tenancy
  • If you wish to break your tenancy agreement by leaving the property earlier, costs associated in doing so would apply
  • Refer to your tenancy agreement or contact your landlord or managing agent to find out what your minimum period of notice would be and the potential costs, should you wish to break your tenancy agreement

What are my responsibilities as a tenant?

When renting, little problems can turn into big problems if you are not aware of who is responsible for taking care of any issues that may arise.

As a tenant, you are obliged to do the following:
  • Keep the property clean
  • Not cause damage to the premises
  • Inform the landlord as soon as possible if any damage is done
  • Ask for the landlord’s permission to install fixtures or make alterations, renovations etc.
  • Avoid causing a nuisance to the landlord or neighbours
  • Do not participate in anything illegal on the property
  • Stick to the terms of your tenancy agreement

Is there any difference between renting a house and apartment rentals?

Yes, there are important factors to consider when deciding on the type of rental property including:
  • Living in a rental house often requires more attention to the house exterior, fencing, backyard and gardens than renting an apartment
  • Renting an apartment requires compliance with the body corporate rules concerning building access, parking, garbage disposal and noise pollution. It's important to familiarise yourself and your flatmates with the body corporate rules and regulations
  • Rental houses may have more security requirements (locks on gates, alarm systems) to be aware of than when you are renting an apartment - where many security features are centrally managed by the body corporate.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of renting directly from the landlord?

Some home owners offer a private home rental, meaning no real estate agent is involved. It is important to understand that renting a house or apartment from a private individual, not via a registered real estate agent, has various advantages and disadvantages.
  • Houses privately available for rent may, at first glance, seem less expensive than if an agent has been appointed to lease the property. However, be aware that renting directly from a landlord may not offer the same level of professionalism when dealing with maintenance and/or a tenancy dispute
  • Owners who rent their homes directly to tenants may not be familiar with the statutory requirements
  • You may experience less privacy as a tenant due to the owner being the landlord and, without a real estate agent or property manager, there can be less objectivity between the landlord and tenant

How do I make my tenancy application a winner?

Looking for rental properties can be extremely competitive, so it pays to stand out from the crowd somehow. Whether you have a proven track record of always paying your rent on time or being the perfect neighbour, these can all help you to be the best tenant to select.

Here are three tips to help you become a great tenant.

Keep it clean

As a renter, the house you're living in isn't actually your own - it's the landlord's. Therefore, it makes sense to keep it clean and tidy to ensure it stays in a good condition for the duration of your tenancy.

If maintenance of lawns and gardens is your responsibility, then make sure the backyard doesn't turn into an overgrown jungle.

Report maintenance issues

If a problem pops up at your rental then you should report it to your landlord or property manager as soon as you can. Leaving maintenance issues to hang over your head can potentially lead to problems worsening over time.

And if it's something like the dishwasher or the oven, then it's likely you'll want to get it fixed ASAP so you can use it again!

Communicate

Everyone knows that communication is key to a great relationship - this also extends to the one between you and your landlord. If there are any issues that arise from the home, such as noisy neighbours or a problem with your next rent payment, let them know - you can always come to a solution together.

By creating a harmonious relationship with your landlord or property manager, you can increase your chances of getting a positive reference - an extremely handy thing to have when you look for a new home!
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