Perhaps you’re moving out of home for the first time.
Maybe you’re returning to Australia after time spent living overseas, or you’re relocating to Perth from interstate. Or maybe you’re moving into a rental property while you renovate your own home? Whatever your circumstances, if you’re renting a home in Perth for the first time, here’s what you need to know.
Landlords usually require tenants to pay an upfront security bond at the beginning of a residential lease. The bond gives the property owner the chance to recoup any losses caused by the tenant, such as property damage or unpaid rent. Western Australian law states that for most properties, the bond must not amount to more than four weeks rent.
Of course, if you take care of the property and pay your rent, you can expect to have your bond returned in full when you move out. Our guide to getting your full bond back is worth a read.
Property Condition Reports
A property condition report is a compulsory document that, by law, must be completed at the start of a new tenancy. It is designed to protect both the tenant and the landlord and resolve disputes about property damage by describing the condition of the property at the start and end of a tenancy. The report states, on a room-by-room basis, the exact contents and condition of the property, and makes note of anything in, on or around the property that is broken or in poor condition. The completed property condition report is then agreed to and signed by the landlord (or the property manager) and the tenant at the start of the lease.
Getting your bond back at the end of your lease depends on your property condition report being completed correctly and thoroughly at the beginning of your lease, so it’s worth doing properly. Check out our guide to property condition reports before you move in.
If you’re one of the 62% of Australian households that own a pet (or you would like to be), you’ll need permission from your landlord to keep your pet in your rented home. In Western Australia landlords are not obliged to allow tenants to keep pets, but many do agree to it. Landlords who allow pets are entitled by WA law to charge an additional pet bond of up to $260. If you’re asking your landlord for permission to keep a pet, make sure you:
- Provide as much information about your pet as you can, including its age, breed, size, temperament, vaccination and vet records, details of any training they have had and information about how much time they’ll be spending alone.
- Reassure your landlord that you’ll cover any property damage caused by your pet. For example, you might offer to have the carpets professionally cleaned on a regular basis.
- Supply references from a previous landlord, owners corporation or neighbours. They can help show your landlord that your pet is friendly and well-behaved.
If your landlord agrees to you keeping a pet, it will need to be written into your lease. Find out more in our handy guide to keeping a pet in a rental property.
What happens when something in your rented home needs to be repaired?
Always contact your landlord (or their appointed property manager) to arrange repairs. They are obliged to make arrangements for the repair of urgent problems affecting essential services (such as a burst water service, gas leak, broken hot water system, sewage leak or dangerous electrical fault) within 24 hours. The time frame extends to 48 hours for urgent repairs that, if not fixed, may cause serious property damage, injure someone or cause undue hardship or inconvenience to you, the tenant.
For non-urgent repairs, once you’ve notified your landlord (ideally in writing), they must fix the issue within a reasonable time frame. See our article about urgent repairs in rental properties for more information.
Making small alterations to a rental property, like planting a vegetable garden or attaching picture hooks to the wall, can really make a house a home.
The changes you are permitted to make to your rental property depend on what is specified in your lease. Beyond that, you need to seek permission from your landlord before making any changes to the property. There are a handful of exceptions. For example, tenants can affix furniture and televisions to the wall if it will protect the safety of children or people with a disability (but you still need to apply for consent). More information can be found in our article about making alterations to a rental property.
All good things must come to an end, and if the time has come to move on from your rented home, you’ll need to know your rights and obligations regarding ending your lease.
Tenants on a periodic lease (once the fixed term lease has ended) simply need to give 21 days’ notice in writing. If you’re still on a fixed-term lease it’s 30 days if you wish to leave at the end of the contract. If you’re looking at leaving earlier it’s more complicated. In most cases, you’re required to honour the terms of the lease. There are some exceptions to the rule, and you can read more about these, as well as your rights and responsibilities, in our guide to vacating a rental property.
Frequently Asked Questions
Still have questions? We’ve answered some of the most common questions that tenants ask their landlords here.
If you’re ready to find a top-quality rental property in Perth, contact our expert team today.