Finding a suitable home to rent can be both exciting and daunting for many. When you are ready to rent a rental property and you have decided WHO you want to live with, there are always many things to consider like what’s the neighbourhood like and where do I want to live, how much can I afford, am I allowed to have pets, what are the initial costs and outlays.
Before you sign a lease with your friends, it is really important to understand what your responsibilities are for the property and each other so that you don’t get caught unawares if things don’t work out.
If you are moving in with friends or family it is really important to understand that the majority of General Tenancy Agreements (or leases) in Queensland will hold ALL tenants jointly and severally liable for the tenant obligations in a lease.
What this means is that if you move out with your friend and they stop paying their half of the rent (as an example), then you are just as responsible for their half of the rent as you are for your own – because you are both and each held responsible that all of the rent gets paid, regardless of how you work that out between you. Because breaches can stay on your rental history for a long time, they can affect your prospects of finding good property to rent in the future.
If you are planning to moving in with someone, it is important that you are clear in your understanding and expectations with that person what your agreement is about paying rent and caring for the property. Make sure you always have a contingency plan too in case the person you have co-signed an agreement changes their mind or stops pulling their weight.
Find out what is included in the weekly rent, you will see that some rental properties include power or water, yard maintenance or pool maintenance, be informed from the onset.
If you are considering sharing with friends or family make sure you know what costs you are up for and organize some way of checking that each of you are making payments when are where you agreed to. Most agencies will ask for 2 weeks rent up front and then 4 weeks rent for the bond payment, you would also need to consider what your moving costs would be, truck hire, connection of utilities, contents insurance etc.
If you have never rented before be aware that most leases will lock you in for a 6 or 12 month lease period. In this time the rent cannot increase or decrease, and the terms of the agreement cannot change unless mutually agreed by yourselves and the owner of the property, this is very helpful when budgeting for weekly rent payments and bills and dividing up the weekly rent payments among friends and family.
You may find that the property you thought was the one just doesn’t seem like home, never fear you can indeed break your lease agreement by providing your agency notice to vacate and paying rent until a new tenant is secured, fees may apply in this instance you would need to check this out with your Agency. Knowing the right questions to ask before you commit to a rental property will save you both time and money.
There is much to consider when moving in with people, relocating for work, wanting a lifestyle change but following some of my points above the transition can be a lot smoother and help you plan for any bumps in the road.