a 5-step guide to keeping your rental property
So, you’ve finally got yourself into a rental property you like, and you want to do all you can to keep that roof over your head. We’ve put together this quick guide to help you do just that.
1. Keep up your payments
We know this one isn’t always easy, but it has to be done. Even if there’s an issue with your landlord not keeping up their side of the agreement, you need to keep paying your rent and other property-related bills like water, gas and electricity.
If you’re having problems paying, contact DCJ as soon as possible to ask for help. Help is available whether you’re in social housing, affordable housing or renting privately.
If you’re a young person living in the Penrith, Hawkesbury or Blue Mountains regions, you can come directly to us to talk about Tenancy Support – we’re here to help too.
2. Ask about pets
To stay in the good books, you need to comply with the terms of your lease. Pets are often allowed, but not always, so whatever you do, don’t try to sneak a pet in! Ask the landlord or agent whether it’s ok first.
If you’re a DCJ tenant, you can keep pets ‘as long as they are suitable for your home, not a restricted breed, and not a nuisance to neighbours nor a health hazard.’ You’ll need to check with DCJ whether or not your pet is suitable.
3. Consider the neighbours!
Nobody likes an inconsiderate neighbour. Nobody. So in Australia, all tenants have terms in their lease agreement that say they must not:
- cause a nuisance, or
- interfere with the peace, comfort or privacy of a neighbour.
This goes for any of your visitors too. You can’t let them disturb or annoy people either.
Things that your neighbours could find annoying include playing loud music, revving cars, fighting, parking in someone else’s driveway (or designated parking bay), leaving rubbish or junk in the front yard, and leaving a dog alone to bark.
Most people are wise to all this, so if a neighbour comes over and asks you to keep it down or move something that’s causing them grief, your best bet is to keep your cool, put yourself in their shoes and remember, you don’t know what else they might be going through. There’s no need to escalate a situation that can easily be resolved with a quick apology and a bit of a neighbourly chat.
4. Keep it clean
This kind of continues on from the point above. Nobody likes living next to a tip. And no landlord is going to look favourably on tenants who aren’t keeping the property in the state they found it in.
Again, as a tenant you’ve got a responsibility to keep the place tidy, inside and out. This is essential if you want to get your bond back easily and get a good reference when you move out.
Sometimes there’s only so much you can do to make a place look presentable. If something needs fixing, ask for it to be fixed. Remember, as a renter, you’ve got rights as well as responsibilities!
Oh, and if you or one of your mates or family members has damaged something, let the landlord or agent know as soon as possible. No point delaying the inevitable.
5. Keep the owner or agent in the loop about changes
Got a friend or family member who needs to crash with you for a while? That’s usually ok for a short while but check your rental agreement or talk to the owner or agent to confirm how many people are allowed to live with you.
Feel you need to change the locks? That’s probably going to be ok too but ask first! The same goes for making any changes to the property. Even if you think it’ll be an improvement, you do need to ask permission before going ahead.
Want more info, advice or a helping hand with renting? If you’re between 12 and 25 years of age, and in our neighbourhood, get in touch with us. Like we always say, you don’t need to go it alone. We’re here to help.
The Tenants Union of NSW also has a load of resources and advice too, so we highly recommend you check them out as well.
Good luck! You’ve got this.