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The recent boom in the New South Wales property market has led to a time of an unprecedented need for rental homes. Finding a house to rent is quickly becoming an extremely competitive and stress filled pursuit. Unfortunately, such competition and pressure has led to many renters missing critical information within their rental agreements. Hence, it is more important now than ever to understand what it is that you need to look out for when signing a rental agreement.

The Obvious Stuff

If you believe that some terms in your rental agreement are too obvious to be reviewed, you would be wrong. It is often the most obvious stuff that gets overlooked in this competitive market. Therefore, to get what you want and have a lease that runs smoothly, it is imperative that you review even the seemingly most simple terms. Such things include the names and contact details of you, your property manager, and your landlord. You should review the address of the property you are leasing to make sure it is correct. You should also pay keen attention to how much your rent is when it is due and any other payments you may have to make, such as a deposit or bond. Finally, make sure that the length of the lease is what you are looking for.

Breaking the lease

One area of rental agreements that many are unsure of are the terms relating to ending the lease early. When revising your rental agreement, be sure that you note down what happens if you move out before the lease period is over. Different arrangements often have different terms, such as paying a proportion of your bond based on how long you stayed in the agreement, or losing your bond altogether. Reviewing and understanding these clauses is the best way to avoid having to pay out a more significant sum than expected should you need to break an agreement. It is important to also review what the conditions are for having your bond returned at the end of your leasing period.

What You Can and Cannot Do

Often, a large section of rental agreements relates to what you can and cannot use the rented property for. In many agreements, these terms are standard and have instructions such as using the premises for solely residential purposes. Hence, if you were thinking of starting a small business in your rental, or using it for purposes other than residential living, be sure you understand what is allowed. On this note, should you also want to have a pet in your rental, it is imperative that you make sure this is permitted under your contract. Currently, many rentals have been moving away from allowing pets in order to keep their property in a better condition for longer. Therefore, be sure that you know what you can and cannot use your rented property for.

Special Conditions

Finally, it is crucial that you look over any special conditions attached to your rental agreement. Special conditions are terms that do not come standard with typical rental agreements. These are often crafted to relate specifically to the property you rent and the agency you are renting through. These conditions can be associated with a broad range of things, such as using the building’s utilities, requirements on bin day, or the use of lifts and lobbies. These terms can sometimes be complicated and hard to understand. Thus, make sure you ask questions and have the rental agency clarify terms you do not understand.

Therefore, as discussed, there are often many terms in rental agreements. Reviewing and understanding these terms, no matter how obvious or challenging they may seem, is the best way to have a smooth rental period. If you have reviewed your rental agreement and still have questions, our expert property team is always here to review your contract and provide the best advice catered to you.

Nicholas Fisher is an intern at law under the supervision of Katherine Hawes, the Principal Solicitor of Digital Age Lawyers.