If you are renting a property, you will need to sign a lease. However, signing a lease is like signing any other legal contract so you really do need to know how leases work and what signing a lease involves. Here we outline some of the basics to get you started.
Read the Lease First!
The first thing that you need to do before you even think about signing a lease is to read it through first, and make sure that you understand everything that is contained within. Do not sign the lease until you understand everything that is expected from you, the renter, and also what is expected of the owner of the property. The lease should contain the amount of rent that you have to pay and how often (weekly, monthly, etc), what your bond is, if pets are allowed, any maintenance that you are expected to do, if you will need to pay usage charges for water, as well as any other conditions that the owner wishes you to abide by.
Fill Out a Property Condition Report
A property condition report is one of the most important things that you’ll need to look at when you first move into your rental. This report details the condition of the property including any damage that is found. You’ll need to go through the property yourself before signing this report and add any areas of damage or wear that you find that are not already included in the report. This will protect you at the end of the lease and prevent you from being liable for damage or wear that you did not cause. Always make sure that you have a condition of the property report for yourself. You may wish to attach a number of photos to the report as evidence and so you can compare the condition of the property when you moved in to the condition it is in when you move out.
How Long is the Lease?
Another thing that you should check before signing your new lease is how long the lease actually runs for. Rental leases generally run for 3 months up to 12 months or more. Once your lease runs out you will have the option to sign a new lease to stay in the property if that is mutually beneficial for you and the owner, or to remain in the property on an ongoing lease. Be aware that there are minimum notice terms that you or the owner can give to have you leave the property, and if you leave before your lease is up or without giving the required notice, you can be required to continue paying rent until a new tenant is found. Your lease should outline the requirements for breaking a lease whether it is you or the owner.
Always Check Out the Lease Rules in Your State
While this general information holds true for most areas of Australia, it is a good idea to contact the relevant authorities in your state before you sign a lease to find out exactly what your rights and obligations are.
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