For people who are not yet ready to purchase your first home, like adults who are still in uni or couples that are just starting out, there is a wide range of rental properties you can choose from. The types of properties you can lease in Australia vary in design and in sizes. Residential properties in the inner cities tend to be on smaller land. Farther out in the suburbs, rental homes and the lots tend to be larger. Whatever your preference and budget, you will find a rental property that fits you.
Type of rental properties
Detached Houses, or Single-Family Homes: are single, stand-alone independently owned homes located on a situated on a piece of land. This type of residential property is commonly located in areas where the population tends to be low, such as the inner suburbs and outside the busy central business district. There are two types of detached houses:
- A Bungalow is a low, one-storey house (sometimes with a small second floor near the roof) with sloping roofs and a large porch or verandah.
- A Terrace House is either a Victorian or Edwardian in style. This type sprouted due to the increasing population in Australia’s big cities. Today, these residences are located in older, inner cities.
Apartment, or flats: are multiple housing units in a single building. Flats are contemporary, impressive, high-rise units where multiple occupants share the same building. These are located in commercialised areas and major cities like Melbourne and Sydney. Amenities, conveniences and places of work are in close proximity from these apartments. There are two types of apartments:
- A Studio Type, or Bachelor’s pad, is a unit with no walls to separate the kitchen, the living room and the bedroom.
- A Large Duplex comprises two units with a common wall and one entrance. This is a sought-after rental property in Australia because it is regarded as a single property with two occupants each paying rent.
House versus Apartment
You don’t want to waste time looking at properties that don’t suit you. Here are some important things to consider to help you determine the right rental property for you.
Location – What area do you want to live in? Would you like your ideal property to be close to your place of work, schools, amenities, transportation and other conveniences? Would you prefer a neighbourhood with a reputation for safety and security? Ask yourself these questions to help you choose the right location where you’d like to live.
Budget and expenses: Work out your budget. There are expenses that are not included in the rent, including electricity and water bills. Add all these related costs when determining whether a property fits your budget.
Property Features and Conditions: List down the internal and external features of the property that are important to you. These include the number of bedrooms, the number of bathrooms, kitchen style, property layout, storage, garden, garage or street parking, outdoor area, and more. You must check the condition of the rental property before signing the lease agreement. Any pre-existing damages should be properly recorded so you will not be held liable for the repairs later on. Some of the items that you need to look at are the flooring, air conditioning system, light fixtures and kitchen.
Factors that influence rental prices
Landlords aim to get the most rent possible for their rental property. However, it is important to remember that rent prices must be consistent with the local market. It is important to arrive at a fair rental price as landlords could lose money either from long periods of vacancy or low rental income.
Rents are determined based on the region, city and neighbourhood. Rents tend to be lower in the suburbs than in the city. As a general rule, the further a property is from a major city, transportation and other amenities, the lower the rent is. Here are factors to influence how much rent to charge for a property:
- Number of bedrooms
- Number of bathrooms
- Square footage
- Built-in appliances
- Lawn / garden
Landlords who choose to allow pets in their rental property with certain restrictions can also charge higher rent because of the potential risk of damage to their property. Landlords can also include a pet deposit in the lease.
A furnished rental, compared to an unfurnished one, also commands higher rent. However, the condition of the furniture and furnishings will affect how much more you can charge for your rental property.
There are also landlords who also have a minimum lease requirement, meaning they accept both short and long term tenancies. Landlords that accept shorter leases can command higher rent. But if tenants are willing to sign for a longer lease, landlords must adjust their rental rates accordingly.
Other fees that tenant may pay
Typically, tenants pay two weeks’ rent in advance, depending on the type of rental property and the lease, and a rental bond, which is intended for damages done to the property.
Landlords cannot charge tenants with administration fees, re-inspection fees or the cost of sending utility invoices and breach notices.
In Western Australia, whether the landlord or tenant is responsible for paying water, gas and electricity bills is determined by how those fees are charged. Tenants are only responsible under either two of these situations: Premises Separately Metered and Agreement Allocating Charges.
For phone and internet bills, the landlord and tenant should agree on who is liable before the start of the tenancy. As it is not quite easy to determine how much to charge a tenant for phone or internet usage, a good way to settle is for the landlord and tenant to agree on an increase in rent to cover the charges.