The 10 things you MUST check before signing a lease.
Renting a home can be a little overwhelming, so it’s quite natural to feel some uncertainty and confusion around signing a lease. The contract you’re signing is legally binding so you want to make sure you’re clear about the property and the terms of the lease you’re about to sign.
Here’s 10 things you should be checking prior to signing any lease agreement.
1. Rental Amount
Depending on the terms of your lease, you could be required to pay your rent weekly, fortnightly or monthly. It’s important to know when your rent is due and the exact amount. In Victoria, rents are advertised weekly but paid monthly (in most cases). Paying your rent late could give you a bad rental history an effect your chances of being approved for a rental property in the future.
2. Lease Term
Before signing your lease, make sure you’re clear on the exact start and finish date of your lease. This will be the period that you are guaranteed possession of the property – within the rights of the legislation. Most leases are 12 months but you can ask for up to three years if you want that security.
3. Internet/Phone/TV Connections
Make sure that the property has all of the connections you need to comfortably live there. Whilst you’d expect most houses these days to have a TV, internet line and landline connections, it’s always better to confirm this with your property manager before signing any paperwork. If these services aren’t available, negotiate who’d cover their installation once you move into the property.
4. Mobile Phone Reception
Most of us rely so heavily on our mobile phones these days, so make sure you good reception in the property you’re about to rent. 12 months of living in property with no reception could very possibly drive you crazy!
5. Car Parking Situation
Does your property come with a car space? If it’s in an apartment or block of units, is it an allocated spot or a ‘first in best dressed’ situation. Parking can cause a lot of disputes amongst tenants and neighbours so be very clear about where you’re expected to park your car. Also, if you’re moving into an apartment building with a car stacker, make sure you’re provided with instructions on who’ll conduct your induction and what their fee is.
6. How to Break you Lease
As with any contract, it’s important to understand how to get out of it. Most tenants plan to stick out their full lease but situations can happen which may require you to move out earlier and break your lease. There are some fee’s involved and they’ll be outlined in the lease agreement. Make sure you read through these and understand your obligations as a tenant in accordance with the contract.
7. Who will be Managing the Property?
Is the property being managed by an agent or by the owner directly? Upon signing the lease, make sure you’re given the contact details of whoever will be responsible for the managing the property.
8. Garden Maintenance
If you have gardens, who is responsible to maintain them? Make sure you have a clear understanding of your expectations in relation to the gardens to avoid any issues when you vacate. The agent or owner may have a recommended gardener for you to use if you don’t think you can maintain them yourself.
9. How to Report Maintenance
Throughout your tenancy you may experience some problems with the property. Find out from the property manager or landlord how they’d prefer to be notified. Some will prefer phone calls and others might want requests via email.
10. What happens at the end of the Lease?
When your lease ends, you may automatically roll over onto a month by month tenancy or the owner may offer you another fixed term contract. If you don’t want to continue living in the property, you’ll be required to give the owner notice – in Victoria, you’re required to give 28 days notice prior to you vacating the property. Confirm with the landlord or property manager what the notice period is to avoid any confusion at the end of your tenancy.
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