Taking out a lease on a rental property can have a lot of benefits for working holidaymakers: it’s cheaper than staying in a hostel, it’s less crowded, you can choose who you live with and you can decide how you want to arrange the house.
However, many working holidaymakers end up spending huge amounts of time, effort and emotion trying to get a lease before giving up in frustration. It can be a complicated and exhausting process and should only be pursued after researching the rental market, gaining an understanding of what is required, then organising yourself accordingly.
Before looking for a rental property, you will need to be aware of what you’re getting into. To say that the rental market in Australian cities is competitive is an understatement, with Sydney and Melbourne being particularly difficult for prospective renters. A quick Google search for information on the current rental market in those cities will throw up a seemingly endless amount of articles containing words like “crisis”, “stress”, or “f**ked”.
For obvious reasons, if you don’t have an income, it will be difficult to get a lease. You’ll need to secure regular and reliable employment before applying for properties.
It helps to apply many of the same principles you would use in a job interview when attending property inspections. You want to make a good first impression on the real estate agent, so be on time and dress respectably. Try to engage them with some polite and reasonable questions so they can see that you’re a reasonable person, and also so they’ll remember you when you submit the application. It also helps to have all housemates attend the inspection.
Update Social Media
Just like prospective employers (and romantic partners), estate agents will want to confirm for themselves that you are the respectable person you say you are. Hide photos of wild house parties and anything else potentially incriminating that may be floating around online.
You’ll need to be organised with your paperwork. To prove yourself to be a desirable tenant, you’ll be required to fill out an application form with details of all prospective tenants, along with proof of financial stability for all tenants, which can include bank statements, payslips and employer contact details. Applications are generally accepted a few days following an inspection but it will help to have your paperwork ready on the day. It’s a good idea to enquire in the days leading up to the inspection about what documents they’ll require. This will also reinforce your eagerness and organizational skills and having multiple exchanges over a few days will establish more of a rapport between you and the agent.
Most estate agents will ask for one month’s rent up front, along with a bond, which is usually equal to a month’s rent. Have this ready.
Know Your Rights
Tenancy laws in Australia are different to that of many countries. There are a number of organisations in each state, such as Tenants NSW and Tenants Victoria that will assist tenants with questions and potential problems regarding their rights.