Renting FAQs for Brisbane Property

What you need to know about renting in Brisbane

Renting can a be a stressful time. First time renters, renters who are new to the city, or renters who need to find a new place often have questions around renting in Brisbane. We’ve put together a list of frequently asked questions to help you get organised and informed for your next move.

How do I arrange an inspection of a rental property?

Want to inspect that perfect looking rental property you’ve found on our website? Easy! Click the red button on the right hand side of the page that says “Book Inspection” (see image below). Our simple online booking system allows you to book an inspection online. Submit your details and you’ll receive an immediate confirmation email/SMS. This system works 24 hours a day and is instantaneous. We also send out a reminder email and SMS message.

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If you’d prefer not to book online, you can call our office on 07 3233 3999, and one of our team will be happy to book an inspection for you.

Please note, we NEVER hand out keys!

 

Do I have to see the property in person before applying?

It’s definitely preferable. If you aren’t able to inspect a property yourself we do advise getting someone you trust to inspect it for you if you can. However, we understand some people don’t always have this option. If you’re unable to view the property yourself you can still submit an application.

 

How do I submit an application for a rental property in Brisbane?

You can submit an application online on our website or by printing the application form and posting it.

You will need to include information including –

  • the address of the property you’re applying for,
  • your details including employment and income verification,
  • rental referees/references
  • supporting documents to verify your identity (e.g. a copy of your drivers licence)

If you’re a first time renter you can submit personal references in place of rental references. In some situations, you may also choose to have a parent co-sign your lease with you.

Your application will help our property managers determine your ability to pay the rent, as well as your ability to take care of the property and comply with the terms and conditions of the lease. We have an article on how to ace your rental application which can help you put together a great application.

 

What documents should I receive if my application is successful?

If your application is successful we’ll contact you to let you know. We’ll then send documents to you including –

  • a copy of the residential tenancy agreement,
  • information about renting in Queensland,
  • a copy of the bond lodgement form,
  • a DEFT number and information on ways to pay your rent,
  • original and copies of the entry condition report completed by the agency. You have 3 days to check, sign and return this to us,
  • if you’ve paid an initial rent and/or bond amount upfront you will also receive a receipt for these amounts,
  • photocopies of access keys and any remote controls for the property you’re renting,
  • emergency contact details for urgent out-of-hours repairs.

 

What is a residential tenancy agreement and do I need one of these when renting?

A residential tenancy agreement (RTA Form 18a) is a written, legally binding contract between a tenant and the owner of the property they’re renting. The agreement outlines the legal rights and responsibilities of a tenant and the property manager/owner. It applies to everyone renting the property (e.g. those in share homes). It’s also commonly called a lease.  This document should be given to the tenant before paying any money or being committed to the tenancy.  Make sure you read it carefully and ask any questions you have.

What’s included in the Tenancy Agreement?

  • the name and address of the tenant, and the property manager/owner
  • the dates when the agreement starts and ends (or state that the agreement is periodic)
  • details about how the tenant should pay the rent and how much rent is to be paid
  • details about what the tenant and the property manager/owner or provider can and cannot do, known as ‘standard terms’
  • any special terms (these should be agreed in advance, e.g. that dogs are allowed but must be kept outside)
  • The length and type of tenancy – either a fixed term or periodic agreement. A fixed term agreement is where the tenant agrees to rent the property for a fixed term such as 6 or 12 months. A periodic agreement is when a tenant lives there for an indefinite period.
  • the amount of bond required
  • other conditions and rules.

 

What is a bond? Do I need one if I’m renting?

A bond is money you pay at the start of your tenancy. It acts as security for the owner of the property in case a tenant doesn’t meet the terms of their lease agreement.

You pay the bond to the agency and we then transfer and lodge it with the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA). The RTA will send you a receipt including your rental bond number.

If your rent is less than $700 a week, the maximum bond that can be charged is 4 weeks worth of rent.

At the end of your tenancy you should talk to the agent about the bond refund and apply to the RTA to get your bond back by completing and signing a Refund of a rental bond (Form 4).

As the bond is a separate payment to the rent you cannot use any part of the bond as rent – so, when you are moving out, you cannot ask the landlord to keep your bond as final rent payment.

 

What is an entry condition report?

When you pay a bond, the landlord or owner must prepare an entry condition report.  This report documents the general condition of the property including fittings and fixtures at the point in time when you move in.  It is important that you carefully check the entry condition report and make sure it includes all existing damage or issues with the property (e.g. marks on the walls or carpet).  It’s a good idea to take photos of the property before you move in and provide a copy of these photos to your agent. Also keep a copy for your own records.

It’s important to note that the entry condition report can be used as evidence if there is a dispute about who should pay for cleaning, damage or replacement of missing items at the end of the agreement –so make sure you review it and are happy with it.

 

What is a routine inspection?

As the managing real estate agent, we will carry out periodic inspections of rental properties to ensure tenants are caring for the property. We will look at things including –

  • The state of the property and grounds to see if it is clean and tidy
  • Whether there has been any damage to the property
  • The number of people living at the property matches the tenancy agreement
  • That there are no pets at the property, unless otherwise agreed to

We will also check the condition of the property and request any necessary repairs/maintenance work be completed by the owner. This inspection may include the following.

 

What happens at the end of my lease/tenancy agreement?

You will find details of the end date in your tenancy agreement. If this date passes, your lease becomes a ‘continuing agreement’. This basically means that all parties are still bound by the original tenancy agreement terms. You can request a lease renewal from the agent if you’d like to continue renting the property, or the agent may send you one first. The owner of the property has the right to choose whether or not to renew the tenancy agreement. If they choose to renew, the owner will either negotiate new terms or stick with the original tenancy agreement terms. If the owner chooses not to renew your tenancy agreement you’ll be sent a notice requesting that you vacate the property.

It’s a good idea to discuss whether or not you want to continue renting the property with the agent well before the end date of your lease. If you do plan to vacate, read our article on what to expect when vacating.

 

What do I need to do if I’m moving out before my tenancy agreement ends?

If you move out prior to your tenancy agreement end date you are responsible for all reasonable expenses incurred by the owner or agent to locate a replacement tenant.

You will also continue paying rent until a new tenant is located and enters into a new tenancy agreement. You can search for a replacement tenant in addition to the agent doing so. However, any prospective tenant must complete all normal processes and checks before they are approved.

Never leave your rental property without notifying the agent. Doing so will likely result in the loss of your bond and could also create a bad rental history record. This can make it more difficult for you to rent again in the future.

 

What do I need to do if I’m moving out of a shared lease but someone else is moving in to take my place?

We call this a handover (when one person leaves a group tenancy agreement and finds a new person to take their place). Any handovers must be done correctly and legally, and it must be done through your agent. The new tenant must complete an application form, provide references and carry out all the other necessary steps to be approved as a tenant. If their application is approved, the new tenant can move into the property.  You can then request a bond transfer.

Be aware that the owner has no obligation to agree to your handover request.

What happens if the owners sell the property I’m renting?

It all depends on the new owner. If the new owner wants to live at the property you’ll be given notice to vacate. This notice should give you plenty of time to find a new home. Alternatively, the new owners may have bought the property as an investment, in which case you’ll be able to continue renting as long as you have a tenancy agreement in place.

 

How do I arrange repairs for the property I’m renting?

If your property needs repairs please contact your agent to lodge a maintenance/repair request (in writing is always best). Our agency has a form on our website where you can lodge such a request. Please do not attempt to repair things yourself. It’s important that you advise the agent of maintenance matters that require attention.

Emergency repairs are generally defined as when the occupants’ health and safety – or the property itself – is threatened (e.g. a tap won’t turn off and water is going through the house). Immediately contact your agent and ensure you give them the opportunity to arrange for the emergency repairs. These should be completed in a most urgent and expedient manner.
If you cannot contact your agent, reference the list of tradespeople nominated to handle emergencies when you can’t contact the agent. We include this list in the documents we give tenants when your application is successful.

 

Am I allowed to put up picture hooks?

As long as you have approval from the owner. To gain approval please contact the agent and they will submit a request on your behalf to the owner of the property you’re renting. You should do this before making any alternations or additions to the rental property.

 

Am I allowed to keep a pet in the property I’m renting?

Tenants can keep a pet in their rental property if the landlord gives them approval to do so. If you wish to submit an application that includes your pet, please provide details about your pet. This will assist the landlord in deciding whether to approve your application. If your application is approved, your pet will be named individually on the lease. There may be some special conditions included on the lease which relate to the pet (e.g. it must be kept outside).

Be aware that if you are approved to have a pet you’ll be required to carry out and provide receipts of professional carpet cleaning and flea treatment when move out of the property.

 

Can I smoke at home while I’m renting?

No. There is a clause in the residential tenancy agreement that states: “The tenant acknowledges that smoking is not permitted inside the premises.”

 

What should I do if I can’t pay my rent?

If at any time during your lease you realise you may have trouble paying the rent it is essential for you to contact your agent. Communication is essential in these circumstances and it is important for you to continue to keep the agent informed of your circumstances so that you aren’t unnecessarily put into breach of your tenancy agreement terms.

 

In addition to rent, what other costs should I budget for when renting?

When renting it’s important to note that the following costs may be applicable –

  • Bond at the commencement of your tenancy agreement
  • Moving costs, such as removalists and utilities connections
  • Electricity and gas charges
  • Internet and landline phone line rental charges
  • Water charges for applicable properties

 

Other helpful articles –

Applying for a rental property in Queensland – from the Office of Fair Trading

3 things tenants forget to look at – Blocksidge Real Estate article

Before Renting – from the Residential Tenancies Authority

Starting a tenancy – from the Residential Tenancies Authority

During a tenancy – from the Residential Tenancies Authority

Ending a tenancy – from the Residential Tenancies Authority