The dangers of renting a home
RENTERS looking to sign a new lease need to be careful before signing the dotted line.
This time of year is particularly busy for many of the one million university students undertaking study and hunting for rental accommodation at the same time.
Holly Kernahan, 24, and her two housemates Maddison Davey, 24 and Tamsin Wight, 26, pay $445 a week to rent a three-bedroom home in Ringwood in Melbourne's east.
Ms Kernahan said they were on a 12-month lease and had a good arrangement with splitting the costs.
"It works really well, I organise all the bills and have a main account that we transfer rent into," she said.
"Maddy and I went to school together and I met Tamsin travelling so we all knew each other which helped."
The trio have lived together for nearly a year.
Ms Kernahan suggested tenants try and share house with friends or families instead of strangers because there was a better chance of it working out.
Realestate.com.au spokesman Andrew Russell suggests tenants make sure they get a property application together when hunting for a property.
This includes all personal information such as employment status and references so they're ready to go.
"Make sure you get your finances in order too," Mr Russell said.
"You need to be careful when you are signing lease documents and those who you are signing it with."
Be sure you can all comfortably afford the weekly rental costs and upfront bond and you are signing a lease with a reputable agent.
Also understand the terms and conditions of the lease - this includes things such as whether pets are allowed, who is responsible for maintaining the garden (if there is one) and what are amenities are supplied with the property.
The Real Estate Institute of Australia's president, Adrian Kelly, said it paid to check where your bond would be going and be sure you could cope with the rental costs.
"Make sure all their names are on the lease," he said.
"Make sure the costs are split equally and read through the lease, don't go on a verbal arrangement."
Mr Kelly also warns tenants to take our insurance before moving in so if something does go wrong while living there they are protected.
* Inspect the property.
* Ask the agent plenty of questions.
* Check the term and conditions of the lease.
* Make sure you can afford the bond/rent.
* Choose your housemates carefully.
* Make sure all tenants are on the lease.
* Fill out an inspection report before moving in.