Finding a rental in Canberra remains a daunting and difficult task, with a severely limited supply of affordable dwellings shrunk even further by rents that have skyrocketed over the past couple of years.
But one thing is certain: the market is about to get even hotter.
Amanda Gordon is property manager for McIntyre Property and says summer is always the busiest time of year for rental properties in Canberra, for a number of reasons.
“The end and start of the school year is a convenient time for families to move,” she says.
“It’s also the time of year that a lot of Defence postings start and finish, with many employment positions and contracts commencing in January.”
So while many might be looking for rental accommodation around December and January, there are also “quite a few properties coming up for rent”, which at least keeps the supply-demand machine working.
At a time like this, Amanda says it’s important people know their rights and responsibilities when it comes to the fine print of their leases, starting with what to do when they want to vacate.
“You are required to provide three weeks’ (or 21 days’) notice in writing,” she says.
The owner will then want to host a slew of open homes in an attempt to secure new tenants, which might be inconvenient for you as you try to pack up, but Amanda says making the effort to keep the place clean and tidy helps in the long run.
“Having the place clean and tidy for the open home can help with getting a new tenant secured quickly, which means you are less likely to be bothered with further requests for more open homes while you are packing and preparing to leave.”
You can clean the home yourself, but Amanda says booking in professionals is generally the easiest way to ensure all the t’s are crossed and i’s dotted. Common missed areas include window tracks, skirting boards, air-conditioner filters and exhaust fans.
“Most cleaning companies will offer some type of guarantee to go back if they have missed any cleaning items, which is one less thing that you need to worry about,” Amanda says.
“Make sure you find out the time frame for that guarantee, though, to minimise any issues.”
Pets complicate things, because there is often a requirement for some sort of pet treatment or fumigation. This can normally be done by a carpet-cleaning company, but make sure to check with it at the time of booking, as this can save on costs.
There’s typically a delay of a few days on the return of your bond, but to make sure you receive it all, Amanda suggests being upfront with any damage.
“If you are moving out and there has been any damage, for example a hole put in a wall, then leaving this until the final inspection and therefore up to the real estate agent to organise the repair on your behalf is going to cause delays with finalising the bond.”
Reasonable wear and tear on a property is normal but if there is more substantial damage, paying for this upfront will avoid any claim being made on your bond. When there is a claim on your bond, you’ll be sent an email (or Section 33 notice). There is the option to dispute the claim by responding to that email – the matter will then be passed on to ACAT for resolution.
As for moving in to a new rental, Amanda says a key thing tenants often forget is to arrange for utilities to be connected before they move in.
“You can time this to happen the day you move in so you aren’t left in the dark if it was completely disconnected prior to you moving in,” she says.
Then there is the condition report, which outlines – through text and photos – the condition of the property when you moved in.
“Legally your agent needs to provide you with this within 24 hours of moving in, and you then have 14 days to complete and return,” Amanda says.
“Take the time to go through and complete your version of this as it will become evidence as to how the property was when you first moved in, and how it needs to be returned at the end of the tenancy. Even taking the time to complete this before the removalists turn up with your furniture can be a really good idea.”
Visit McIntyre Property for more information.