6 Common Mistakes Made When Renting pic
6 Common Mistakes Made When Renting pic

Here are 6 common mistakes made by tenants when renting, with basic advice on how to avoid them and make your renting experience easier.

Here are 6 common mistakes made by tenants when renting, with basic advice on how to avoid them and make your renting experience easier.

# 1

Not knowing your rights

At times, you may feel like you have very few rights as a tenant. Especially when there is a dispute with your agent or landlord. Whilst we usually only worry about this when a dispute happens, it can often be a good idea to get to know your rights.

How can you do this?

Each State Government in Australia has laws in place that are there to protect you, the tenant. It is important to understand that each State may have different laws and bodies that you can seek help from.

If you are curious about your rights, or wish to seek advice, click on a link below that relates to the State you are renting in …

ACT – Tenants’ Union ACT

NSW – Tenants’ Union NSW  |  NSW Fair Trading

NT – NT Government  |  Tenants’ Advice Service

QLD – Residential Tenancies Authority  |  Tenants QLD

SA – SA Government  |  Tenants’ Info & Advisory Service

TAS – TAS Government  |  Tenants’ Union TAS

VIC – Tenants’ Union VIC  |  Consumer Affairs VIC

WA – Consumer Protection (Gov)  |  Tenancy WA

# 2

Not completing your entry report

When you receive the keys to a new rental property, the agent will give you an entry report. Not filling out your entry report in detail, or at all, is one of the major common mistakes made when renting.

It is usually 5-7 pages long and may look a bit daunting at first (there is a lot of small writing). They are designed to detail out each area of each room in the property (for example – the window in a bedroom). There is a notes section, to the right of each item, where you can add any important information about that item.

The entry report is for your benefit ...

This is your opportunity to have a record of, and inform the agent of, the real condition the property is in from the first day of your lease. Particularly where damage or warn out areas are concerned.

When you leave the property, at the end of your lease, your entry report may be important to prove that an item may have been already damaged. This means you are not responsible for it.

It is best to fill out the report BEFORE you move anything into the house.

How to fill out your entry report

Grab a pen, start at item 1 and BE PICKY! Here are some key areas that you need to look for. Make a note in the notes section, and take a photo, whenever you see these:

Any damage – This could be … cracked tiles, a loose door handle, scratches on a stove top, loose shower head, broken light fitting, a damaged blind, etc.

Walls and doors – Are there scuff marks (small or large), dints or scratches, picture hooks, nails or small holes, etc.

Anything that doesn’t work – Assuming the power is on, check the air conditioner remote, make sure all the lights work, the range hood, test the taps … you get the picture.

And finally, is it clean? – Check inside the oven, cupboards and drawers. Is there mould in the shower? Are the walls, skirting boards, blinds, doors, etc clean?

Remember this one main point – If you didn’t add it to the entry report, then it will always be assumed that you are the one that caused it. This means that you will be responsible for fixing it.

Once completed ...

Take a copy for yourself (take a photo of each page with your phone if you want to) and return it to your agent as soon as you can. Keep all photos in a safe place in case you need to refer back to them.

You only have 3 days to return your completed entry report to your agent (note – this can be up to 7 days, depending on the State you are renting in, but stick with 3 days to be safe). This is important – not returning it in time means you have agreed with the one you were given.

You should then receive a signed copy back from the agent (usually within 14 days). Follow this up, if you don’t get one.

Make completing the entry report your First Priority.

# 3

Not using email

There is a reason why most property managers, or agents, use email when informing you (the tenant) of anything that is important:

It is so that they have a record of the communication.

Keeping a record of any communication made with your property manager when renting is just as important for you too and it is one of the easier common mistakes to avoid.

What to do ...

Whether it be a request for the repair of an item, agreeing to a time for a regular inspection, or even an emergency, it is always best done by email.

For some of you, email is considered stone age stuff. You may prefer to send a text. But email is definitely the way to go here.

Don’t be afraid of lengthy emails either. Detail can be beneficial, as it provides proof of communication, in case you need it.

If you have had a discussion over the phone, or in person, with your property manager, it is a good idea to send them an email and include brief points relating to the discussion. Add any verbal agreements you made with each other as well. This includes any urgent maintenance requests.

Urgent maintenance requests

It is vital that you communicate any serious, or potentially serious, issues as soon as you see them. A leaking roof or window, broken appliances (oven, stove, hot water system, etc) and electrical issues are examples of potentially serious issues. These may result in extremely unsafe situations for you or damage to the property.

Flood damage from a burst hose, tap or from bad weather must be dealt with IMMEDIATELY. Leaving it for a couple of days may result in mould and/or the water will cause further damage.

Dealing with this can be an extremely stressful situation. Alert your property manager immediately by phone and then email. Take photos and include them in the email too. Your property manager will arrange for a carpet cleaner first, to extract the water, and any other trades required.

One final note on email communication

Anger never comes across well for either party in an email.

The same goes for sarcasm. Emails are kept on file for a long time. It is important that you stay on point with your emails and keep them clean.

# 4

Not protecting walls

It is a good idea to be aware of the potential to mark or damage walls. If you are an experienced renter, you will know what I am talking about here. This is one of the common mistakes made by tenants and can be expensive when renting.

Marks on walls ...

The constant rubbing of furniture against a wall will result in a scuff mark and you will be responsible for cleaning any scuff marks off the walls. It can also cause more serious damage.

For example – constant rubbing from a couch can slowly wear the paint away and there is a very real chance that it causes a dint, or scratch.

In these more extreme situations, you may need to get walls repaired and painted. This can be expensive – an experience you absolutely want to avoid.

Protect walls now to prevent future pain

Ideally, make sure there is a good gap between the couch and the wall. A couch usually causes the biggest marks or damage on walls. And, due to the size of the marks, they are definitely hard to clean off without causing further damage.

For other furniture, get your hands on some sticky felt tabs (your local hardware store has them). Stick them onto your furniture (not the wall) in the area that they are most likely to touch the wall. These will prevent the dints and scratches, but you may still need to clean off a scuff mark or two.

Sticking things on walls ...

Sure, it’s a rental, but it’s always nice to make it look and feel like a ‘home’. We love to hang pictures of little Johnny, family memories, our favourite Marvel superheroes, etc around the house. The kids like to decorate their rooms too.

But, please be aware, you may risk damage to the wall.

And, if you damage it, you will be responsible to fix it.

Playing it safe here is the key

For example – going crazy with Blu Tac is not recommended. The longer it is on the wall, the harder it will be to get it off. The same goes for using sticky tape. Removing sticky tape from a wall or door, without pulling off paint, is difficult.

Wall stickers can be a real problem too. Regardless of what it says on the pack, they are often difficult to remove. These stickers can pull the paint away from the wall when you try to remove them. The best way to avoid this expensive problem is to avoid using these stickers all together.

As a general rule, if you would like to hang photos, ask your property manager what they recommend you use.

This way you are covering your bases.

# 5

Not being prepared for your end of lease

Moving sucks, at the best of times, but moving out of a rental property can be a very stressful experience. Especially if you leave everything until the last moment.

Being prepared ahead of time will make your exit easier.

So, what do you need to be prepared for?

1st - Know the cost ...

There are a few things you need to be aware of that will cost you money. Set yourself a moving budget, a couple of months before your end of lease date.

Costly things you should allow for

Will you hire a moving company, or are you going to move it all yourself? How much it is to hire a trailer for a couple of days, if your friend doesn’t have one?

Moving boxes – do you need to buy them?

What services will you need? Cleaning, carpet cleaning, pest control and/or gardening?

Finally, you should also consider the potential costs related to the new property you are moving to. Your biggest cost will be the new bond deposit and the first month’s rent! Getting your bond deposit back from the house you are exiting can take time, so it is important that you allow for this in your moving budget.

2nd - Plan your time ...

Below is a simple guide that will help you in your planning:

Know your dates. The date your current lease ends and the date your new lease starts. Having them overlap, by at least a week, will give you time to move and to clean.

Organise to have the power, internet, etc turned off at the old property and turned on at the new property. Note – make sure the power for the old property is not turned off until the day after your lease ends. Cleaning is much easier to do with the power on.

Allow 2 days for cleaning, especially if you are doing the bond clean yourself. Everything in the house needs to be cleaned and you may be surprised how long this can take.

Gardening can happen anytime in the lead up to your end of lease date, but it is best to organise it for the final week of your lease.

Book the carpet cleaner and the pest control (if you need it) for the last day of your lease.

Planning for your exit is important when renting but failing to plan you exit is one of the common mistakes made by tenants.

# 6

Using the wrong cleaning products

One of the most common mistakes made by tenants when renting is using the wrong cleaning product or equipment during their bond clean. Resulting in damage to the item being cleaned.

For example, using abrasive cleaning products (like cream cleansers) to clean a standard door will damage the paint. Using them on walls can damage them too. Similarly, using oven cleaner sprays on gas elements, or to clean the range hood filter, will definitely damage them!

Don't take short cuts ...

An end of lease clean, or bond clean, often means some extreme cleaning. It is normal to look for a short cut, or two, when trying to get it done quickly. Whether the house is ‘clean’, or not, is a huge stress point experienced by tenants at the end of their lease.

If the clean is not up to standard, you may need to go back and fix it. Or the agent may hire a cleaner to fix it and the cost will be taken from your bond deposit.

If you would like to know what a bond clean is, click on the below link …

What Is A Bond Clean?

What can you do?

You can hire a cleaner. Just make sure you choose one that guarantees their work, or you might end up doing some cleaning anyway. Advice for finding a good cleaner can be found half way down the following page …

What Is A Bond Clean?

If a cleaner won’t fit into your budget, or if you prefer to do the clean yourself, The Bond Clean Book is for you.

With 30 How To Clean Guides you can safely tackle even the most extreme cleaning situations yourself and save a lot of money too.

Check it out and download it here …

The Bond Clean Book

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I wish you well for your future as a tenant and hope that knowing the 6 common mistakes made when renting helps to make your renting experience much easier.

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