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Many Australians prefer renting to purchasing. 

While renting provides flexibility and freedom, it also has unique issues that can arise when settling into an unfamiliar place.

Read on to discover some of the biggest challenges to watch out for when moving to a new place and how to overcome them without too much stress.

Solid Doors and Secure Locks

The front door and lock are essential for any rental property, as they keep your home and your belongings safe.

When inspecting the front door, check whether it is solid and impenetrable, with a minimum thickness of 44mm. The frame must also be strong and fitted correctly. The lock should be a minimum of a five-lever mortise lock or conform to Australian Standard AS 4145.2.

Check that the door and lock have an Australian Standard or Security Construction and Equipment Committee (SCEC) certification to ensure quality.

Internal doors must also be secure, especially if they lead to outside areas such as a balcony or garden. Look for sturdy ones that cannot be easily kicked in or broken.

In addition, a security system such as an alarm can provide an extra layer of protection. Ask the landlord if an alarm system is installed, and if not, consider investing in one yourself.

Verify Documents

In Australia, landlords are legally required to provide a Residential Tenancy Agreement.

This document clearly outlines the terms and conditions of the lease. In it, details such as the rent amount, the lease length, and any additional fees or charges must be included.

It’s also essential to verify the landlord's credentials and ensure all necessary documents are in order before you sign a lease agreement. Ask for proof of ownership, such as a Land Title Certificate or property deed.

Make sure to also ask for the gas safety certificate, which is a legal requirement for any property with gas appliances. The certificate must be renewed every 12 months and provided by a licensed gas fitter. The property might be unsafe if you notice that’s not the case.

It's also essential to verify that the landlord has a valid HMO (House in Multiple Occupations) licences if you share the property with two or more people who aren't part of the same family.

Don’t forget to perform end of lease cleaning when moving out so your deposit gets refunded in full.

Furnished or Not?

Consider your own situation and preferences when choosing whether to rent a furnished or unfurnished property. 

A furnished property may be more convenient if you're only sticking around for a short time. If you already have furniture or plan to stay for an extended time, an unfurnished property may be more to your taste.

If you're renting a furnished property, check that the items are in good condition and meet basic requirements. Double-check the inventory report, and any appliances provided, and note any damages or missing items before signing the lease agreement.

If you're renting an unfurnished property, be aware that you must provide your own furniture and appliances. Factor this into your budget and be prepared to invest in quality items that will last.

Check Walls and Floors

Checking the walls and floors is crucial when renting a new property.

Cracks and holes in walls and floors can indicate structural damage and pose a safety risk to you and your family. Therefore, thoroughly inspecting the walls and floors before signing a lease agreement is crucial for your safety.

When inspecting the walls, look for any visible signs of dampness or water damage, which can indicate future issues.

Additionally, examine the walls for cracks, holes, or peeling paint, as these can be telltale signs of underlying problems that may necessitate repairs. If you notice any of these flaws, bring them to the landlord's attention and request that they be resolved before you move in.

Similarly, when inspecting the floors, be sure to check that they are level and do not slope, as this can be a sign of problems with the foundation or structure of the building.

Also, check for any signs of wear and tear, such as cracks or stains, as these can be tripping hazards and may require repair.

It's worth noting that some flooring materials, such as hardwood or tile, may necessitate specialised care or polishing, so check with your landlord about any specific instructions or requirements.

Quality of Windows

Another significant factor to consider when leasing a new house is the condition of the windows

They don't simply provide fresh air and sunlight,  but play an essential role in the property's energy efficiency and influence the amount of noise from outside. Inspect them thoroughly to ensure they are in acceptable condition and meet the required standards.

Double- and triple-glazed windows are highly recommended because they provide superior insulation and reduce outside noise. These windows have two or three panes of glass with a layer of either air or gas in between to help minimise heat loss and noise transmission.

Besides that, windows should be adequately sealed and free of cracks or gaps that can allow drafts in, as this can cause the property to be less energy-efficient and result in higher heating or cooling costs.

Aussie windows must comply with the Building Code of Australia (BCA), which sets out minimum standards for construction. Compliance with the BCA ensures that the windows are up to a certain standard and meet optimum energy efficiency, safety, and durability requirements.

If you notice any issues with the windows, such as condensation between the panes, or visible cracks or gaps, it's essential to bring them to the landlord's attention and request that they are fixed before you move in.

You can also consider investing in thermal curtains or blinds to improve insulation further and reduce noise.

Conclusion

In conclusion, renting a new place can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it's essential to be diligent and thorough when inspecting the property.

Look for solid doors and secure locks, verify all necessary documents, consider whether to rent furnished or unfurnished, check for any structural damage, and ensure that the windows are of good quality.

Follow our tips, and you'll be well on your way to finding a safe and comfortable home.

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