Renting tips for Australia

Over the past few weeks, we have posted Renting tips for Europe and Renting tips for outside of Europe. Australia was meant to be part of the second post. Because my mum works in real estate there, I asked her to jot down a few tips for us, however, she ended up writing more then a few tips!  So Alex and I decided we’d give mum her own post, especially as she is also one of our biggest supporters and for that we love her! Here are Bell’s mum’s renting tips for Australia.

I work in property management for Wilson Agents in St Kilda. St Kilda is a very popular destination for international travellers. It is located close to the beach and offers an excellent variety of cafes, restaurants and night life. There are lots of apartments available in the area varying in price. Rents are high in St Kilda as it is an inner city suburb and close to the beach and public transport.

St Kilda, a popular area in Melbourne, Renting tips
St Kilda, a popular area in Melbourne

Prospective tenants must inspect the property prior to making an application, or they can have a member of family or a friend inspect on their behalf. The majority of apartments /houses are unfurnished and the minimum lease term is 12 months. Shorter terms are available on furnished apartments. Check internet sites ; and make contact with local real estate agencies in the required area. Attend open houses for inspections or make appointments to view properties of interest. It is time consuming, however it is best if you get a feel for rental prices and areas. Enjoy your stay in Melbourne in a location that connects you to the city.

All applications must be accompanied by copy of your photo ID (passport or driving licence), current bank statement, copy of visa and job offer or payslip. If looking for work an applicant must have sufficient funds in the bank account to cover rent for a period of time, usually a few months.  Make sure you have a number of copies of this documentation so you can complete an application form and attach the information readily, this way your application will be processed quickly.

In Melbourne rent is paid per calendar month and all tenants are required to pay rent in advance and a bond of one month or 6 weeks rent. The bond is held by government agency and refundable on vacating the property provided rent is paid in full, no damage is done by the tenant  and the property is left clean, including professional cleaning of carpets.  Tenants are responsible for the connection and ongoing payment of utilities including water usage if the apartment is separately metered.

All tenants are given a condition report on the property at the commencement of the tenancy and are asked to go through the property and add any additional comments regarding condition, then sign and return to the agency within 3 working days.  This protects the tenant from being asked to fix any damage that was already done to the property at the commencement of the tenancy.

Tenants must give  minimum notice of 28 days notice prior to the expiry of the lease if they are intending to vacate the property. Penalties apply if you break the lease (leaving prior to expiry date) and these include payment of rent up until a new tenant moves in, internet advertising and a pro rata of the letting fee (the owner pays a letting fee of 1.5 weeks plus GST to agency).

Check out the area you are interested in, sit in a café, check public transport in the area and walk around to get a feel for the spot. Ask questions of the local real estate agency and locals. Take the time to have a good look before deciding on a neighbourhood to rent in.

Renting tips for Australia


  • Alex&Bell

    Alex and Bell originally met while solo traveling after finishing university in 2002, in Brugge, Belgium. Alex grew up in the USA and Bell hails from Australia. During our nearly 20 year marriage we've lived around the world, including spending six years living in the Netherlands and Ireland. We have traveled to nearly 70 countries and enjoy giving readers authentic and quality travel tips. Alex is an award winning travel journalist and travel planner, who also freelances for other outlets. Bell is an award winning PhD scientist who currently works for a non-profit lung cancer advocacy research organization called Lungevity. Happy travels and if you have any questions leave a comment or drop an email!

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