6 things to do before accepting a rental property


The hunt for a rental property can be exhausting. But even though it’s tempting to rush the process to get it over and done with — don’t skip these six crucial steps!

1. Inspect the property

Inspect a property before signing a general tenancy agreement (aka, a lease). This way, you’ll know that it’s in good condition and meets your needs – photos can be deceiving! Consider things like the following:

  • Where you want to live. Do you want to be close to friends, family, work, school or public transport?
  • Does the rent suit your budget?
  • Are pets allowed?
  • Are you happy to mow, or maintain a pool or gardens?
  • Does your phone have reception inside the property?
  • Is there enough car parking available?
  • Does the property have sufficient security for your safety and contents?
  • Is everything working properly and in good condition? Check for leaking taps, mould and any sign of pests, and make sure the appliances work.
  • Does the rent include any maintenance costs or bills like water or electricity?

Inspections are also a great opportunity to meet the agent and ask any questions you might have about the property.

2. Highlight any damage

If you notice anything that needs repair during your inspection, take photos of the damage and ask the agent if it’ll be fixed before moving in. If it will be, agree on a timeframe and get this in writing before signing the lease.

3. Understand the application process

You’ve viewed the property and it ticks all your boxes – great! Now it’s time to complete a rental application form. Chances are you won’t be the only one applying, so it’s good to be organised and submit your application ASAP. Along with your application form , there are a few things you’ll generally need:

  • Rental history and references, or a written history of your accommodation for the last few years if you haven’t rented before.
  • Personal references. Someone you’ve lived with before who can demonstrate to the agent or landlord that you’ll be an excellent tenant is a great place to start.
  • Employment history and payslips, or other evidence of income.
  • Identification. The application form will list the type and number of identity documents you’ll need to provide, but having your birth certificate, driver’s licence or passport, and Medicare card handy will help speed up the process.

4. Familiarise yourself with the tenancy agreement

Once your application is approved, your agent will provide you with a tenancy agreement — or lease — to sign. The tenancy agreement is a legal document between you and your agent or landlord, and states:

  • how much rent is, and how and when it is to be paid
  • who can live at the property
  • the length of tenancy
  • the amount of bond required
  • the standard terms – what the tenant and the landlord can and can’t do
  • any special terms that must be agreed on in advance, and
  • any other conditions or rules.

Take time to read and fully understand the agreement before you sign it and be sure to ask your agent or landlord any questions you may have along the way.

5. Take care of the things you love

As a renter, you won’t need home insurance, as you don’t own the property — your landlord will usually have this covered. But it might be worthwhile considering Contents Insurance. When you’re renting, Contents Insurance is a great way to ensure your stuff can be replaced or repaired in case it’s damaged, lost or stolen.

Find the right level of coverage to suit your needs and get an online quote now.

Get a Home Contents Insurance quote

6. How to manage the condition report

Last but certainly not least, take the time to fill in the entry condition report properly. This step is super important because if you don’t list any damages or defects when you move in, they’ll become your responsibility to fix when you move out. Any discrepancies in the report could also stop you from getting your full bond back at the end of your lease, so attention to detail here is crucial.

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Insurance issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as AAMI. Read the Product Disclosure Statement before buying this insurance. The Target Market Determination is also available. Go to aami.com.au for a copy. This advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situations or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it.

The information is intended to be of general nature only. Subject to any rights you may have under any law, we do not accept any legal responsibility for any loss or damage, including loss of business or profits or any other indirect loss, incurred as a result of reliance upon the information. Please make your own enquiries.