Student house hunting tips

Ways to take the worry out of renting

Whether you’re moving out of home for the first time, or arriving from a different country, renting can be daunting. If you’re planning to live off campus here are our top tips for avoiding the pitfalls and not getting ripped off.

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  1. Work out what you can afford

    Rent will be your major expense but don’t forget electricity, gas, internet and furniture, as many properties come unfurnished. You’ll also need to pay a bond which is normally the equivalent of four weeks rent. If your rental property isn’t near the campus also work out the cost of travel for the year.

  2. Check the vitals

    Ask for individual contracts for each tenant just in case one of your mates leaves the house – this means you won’t be liable for their rent or other costs. It may cost you more upfront but will be a saving grace down the track. Make sure that every little thing is correct on your contracts before you sign them including tenant’s names, the landlord’s name, address of the house/apartment and the dates of tenancy. The contract should also include your notice period if you want to move out, and the notice period the landlord has to give you.

  3. Get all the info

    By law your landlord should provide you with a copy of the governments “New tenant checklist” guide, a copy of your lease, two copies of the premises condition report, a copy of the owner’s corporation rules (if applicable) and a bond lodgement form. For further information check out your local state governing body.

  4. Inventory

    When you first move in take photos of everything that’s there and match it up with the inventory your landlord has provided you with. If anything is in worse condition than it says make sure you pipe up now so that it can’t be blamed on you and have you foot the bill when you move out.

  5. Safety first

    Don’t forget to check all the smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms work and ask for a copy of the gas safety certificate (if applicable). Also check that all locks on the windows and doors are 100% secure.

  6. Negotiation

    Sometimes you’ll get lucky and get a nice landlord who will negotiate half-rent over the summer break, or additional freebies thrown in such as a freezer or microwave. You can also try and negotiate admin charges. There’s nothing to lose with giving it a try!

  7. Pay your bills

    Once you’re all set up it’s a good idea to set up a bill paying schedule or plan to stop any arguments about shared utilities. Consider using a bill splitting app to make it super easy.

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No matter where you are, or where life takes you, we want to be with you every step of the way. Whether you’re looking for advice or information, First State Super can provide you with the expertise and tools to support you in making the right financial decisions.

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