Newcomers Network  
Linked In Australia

Renting or Buying Property in Australia Renting or Buying Property in Australia

1. Initial information for renting or buying property in Australia

This page provides general information on renting or buying property in Australia. If you require specific information related to your circumstances, we encourage you to source advice from a qualified real estate, property or relocation services professional. The term 'realtor' is not often used in Australia, most people in the industry are called 'real estate agents.'

Alternatively, after you have read all of this and gone through the various websites, you may realise that it may be easier to pay for the services of a relocation service provider who can make recommendations based on their local knowledge or a property broker/consultant or buyer's agent that can work on your behalf.

You can find these organisations in the Yellow Pages and True Local in the expanded categories of 'Relocation Consultants and/or Services' or 'Real Estate' or 'Migration Consultants and Services.'

There are also several resources produced by state governments (usually from their Consumer Affairs Departments) and these are very useful for people renting or buying property in Australia.

Victoria

Consumer Affairs Victoria - Renting
Consumer Affairs Victoria - Buying and Selling Property
Tenants Union of Victoria - A non-profit community organisation - lots of information, links and a telephone advice service.
Department of Human Services Office of Housing - lots of information and publications related to renting and buying a home.

New South Wales

New South Wales Office of Fair Trading - Renters and Home Owners
Tenants Union of New South Wales - A website for NSW tenants, with information on policy and reform, what's new, and a search facility that directs tenants to their nearest advice service.
Housing New South Wales - state government information website.

South Australia

South Australia Office of Consumer and Business Affairs - Tenancies
South Australia Office of Consumer and Business Affairs - Real Estate
Tenants Information and Advocacy Service There is no tenants union in South Australia. However, Anglicare runs the Tenants Information and Advocacy Service for people on low incomes.
Housing SA - state government information website.

Queensland

Queensland Government Office of Fair Trading - Real Estate
Tenants Union of Queensland - for Queensland tenants, featuring publications, links, service details, facts and figures.
Queensland Government Department of Housing - state government information website.

Western Australia

Western Australia Government Department of Consumer and Employment Protection - Real Estate and Renting
Tenant Advice Service - for West Australian tenants has a comprehensive and helpful online tenants' right manual, online publications, staff profiles and newsletter.
Western Australia Government Department of Housing and Works - state government information website.

Tasmania

Tasmania Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading - Tenancy and Real Estate
Tenants Union of Tasmania - for tenants in Tasmania, with fact sheets, newsletters and useful links.
Housing Tasmania - state government information website.

Northern Territory

Northern Territory Department of Justice, Consumer Affairs - various publications.
Tenants’ Advice Service, Darwin Community Legal Service - A territory-wide community-based tenancy advice and advocacy service.
Territory Housing - state government information website.

Australian Capital Territory

Australian Capital Territory Department of Justice and Community Safety - Various publications.
Tenants Union Australian Capital Territory - includes rental advice, newsletters, information on projects and a tenant's checklist for renters in the ACT.
Australian Capital Territory Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services - state government information website.

You may also like to visit the 'Locations' section of our website as there are sections on Moving to various locations in Australia and on these pages, we also link to destination information and relocation resources.

2. Choosing a location

It is often difficult for newcomers to decide where they would first like to live when moving to Australia. We usually recommend either close to your work or your children's school or in a location that suits your personal lifestyle needs.

If you have a friend, work colleague or family member in your new location, it can be a great start to ask them what locations they like, and why. This can give you a starting point for enquiries.

You will find many debates on which is the 'best' city in Australia with some people arguing between Sydney or Melbourne and others suggesting that Adelaide and Perth are just like country towns. Everyone's experience of Australia is slightly different. Here are some general concepts from what we have heard, but these are only generalisations - not enough to base a decision on!!!

Melbourne - strong culture, very multicultural, many amenities but getting busier, 'Paris' or European style, favourite question 'Which secondary school did you go to?'

Sydney - faster paced, busier, 'New York' style, many individual cultural groups based in one location, favourite question 'Where do you live?'

Adelaide - slower paced, pretty and well laid out, large country town with many shops not open on Sundays, favourite question 'Who do you know?'

Brisbane - warm most of the year, growing rapidly with many new buildings and a lot of heritage disappearing, 'BrisVegas' or Las Vegas style, favourite question 'How long have you lived here?'

Perth - warmer than Adelaide or Melbourne, a long way from the east coast, provincial town with many restaurants closing at 10pm and shops not open on the weekend, resources/mining strong communities, favourite question 'Where are you from?'

Hobart - colder than most cities and based on a scenic harbour and river, small city almost an outpost from Victoria as many company offices have moved to the mainland, great for adventure/eco style residents, favourite question 'What did you do on the weekend?'

Darwin - extremely multicultural, many short term residents, small population, tropical with wet and dry seasons, favourite question 'Would you like a beer?'

Canberra - planned city around Lake Burley Griffin, government centre of Australia, very parochial residents, many are government workers with long standing careers, favourite question 'Where do you work?'

As mentioned previously, these are broad generalisations, not accurate definitions!

It is essential for you to do some background research on the locations you are interested in. Although you may wish to move to a warmer climate, remember that some locations (like Darwin) are warm all year and this may be nice to begin with but tiresome later on. Regardless of where you are living, the weather will affect your everyday life. If you are affected by high humidity or cooler temperatures, make sure you are prepared. The Bureau of Meteorology will give you good background information.

One of the best sources of information about your new local area is the local government council. You can find these via the following websites:

Victoria - Municipal Association of Victoria
New South Wales - New South Wales Department of Local Government
South Australia - Local Government Association of South Australia
Queensland - Local Government Association of Queensland
Western Australia - Western Australia Local Government Association
Tasmania - Local Government Association of Tasmania
Northern Territory - Local Government Association of the Northern Territory
Australian Capital Territory - Australian Capital Territory Government

Find then visit your new local council website and request a 'Community Information Booklet' or a 'New Resident's Kit.'

3. Where to stay on arrival

Initially, it is a good idea to stay in some form of short stay or temporary accommodation whilst you look around for a rental property. Here is a small selection of resources that you may like to use:

Yellow Pages and True Local and look in the Accommodation category to find a list of all sorts of options including hotels, serviced apartments, guest houses, backpackers, hostels, motels, bed and breakfast, homestay etc. (You can also Google these words with your location and see what comes up)
Get a Room
Last Minute
Wotif
Relocation Network
CouchSurfing (for the truly adventurous)
BCL Australian City Life

Free Classifieds
Gumtree
Oz Free Online

Remember that it may be cheaper to stay in serviced accommodation for 28 days (and they may have cooking facilities etc) than a hotel for 14 days and this will also give you more time to look around. Consider choosing somewhere that is close to public transport or a car share or rental car facility (You can find links to various travel options at Travelsmart and search for car hire rates through VroomVroomVroom) and also a supermarket, fresh food market or a mixture of local restaurants.

4. Renting to begin with

Renting provides a good opportunity to sample different locations without the various costs associated with buying and selling property (not to mention all of the effort to find a property that you would like to buy, the legal requirements, taxes etc).

It is common for newcomers from large cities with apartments to seek the same style of living in Australia. However, many Australians imagine themselves as living on a quarter acre of land with a free standing home. That said, there are many different types of housing in Australia now, so there is no particular standard in any location anymore. You can even find a high rise apartment in a suburb a long way from the city now.

Most newspapers usually feature real estate or property on one day during the week (often a Wednesday) and on Saturdays with a follow up section of Auction results on a Sunday.

It is important to inspect a rental property before you sign a tenancy agreement. When inspecting, check that the property has been maintained in good order and that everything works properly. If you are considering renting an apartment in a residential complex, determine what facilities and services are available for residents such as broadband internet wiring, pay television, security, car parking and recreational facilities such as a pool or gym. Some residential complexes have a building concierge who can assist with local information and dining and entertainment recommendations.

Most rental properties are let unfurnished so you will need to lease or buy a furniture package if you are not bringing your furniture with you. Specialist leasing agents can arrange this on your behalf.

How do I apply for a property?

Once you have found a suitable property, you will need to lodge an application to lease it. You will usually be asked to fill in a Tenancy Application Form. This will assist the agent or landlord to check your credit history and references. The form should include a privacy statement so you know how your personal information will be used. When inspecting properties, it is a good idea to bring along reference details and identification in the event you would like to fill in a Tenancy Application Form on the day.

Alternatively, you may be able to use 1form - a free online tenancy application system that streamlines the tenancy application process for both property managers and tenants. What I like about this is that you prepare your information once and then can apply for many different properties with just a few clicks rather than submitting so many different sets of information as per the particular real estate agent's procedures. You can also submit an application before you have inspected the property (perhaps whilst you are still overseas).

The type of information you will need for your application is a driver's license, passport number, business reference, employer reference, personal reference, rental and/or sales reference (if you have never rented but have sold a property, the selling agent is also a good reference). Some agents will ask for written references, but in most cases you will just need to supply contact telephone numbers and names of the relevant people.

What is a Residential Tenancy Agreement?

When your application to lease a property has been accepted, you will be asked to sign a Residential Tenancy Agreement (or lease). This is a legal contract between you and the landlord that details the terms and conditions of the tenancy. You should read the Residential Tenancy Agreement through carefully before you sign it to ascertain that all details are correct. The Residential Tenancy Agreement should include items such as the property address, rental amount, and commencement and end date of the tenancy.

How much money do I pay when commencing a lease?

Before moving into the property, you will be asked to pay the first month's rent in advance, as well as a refundable bond which is usually equal to six weeks rent if the weekly rent is more than $350 per week, or one month's rent if the weekly rent is under $350 per week. The bond is held by a centralised government body usually called the Residential Tenancy Bond Authority (RTBA). You will be asked to sign a Bond Lodgement Form to lodge the bond with the RTBA. The RTBA will send you a receipt within 14 days of bond lodgement.

Do I have to pay for anything other than rent?

Unless mentioned in your Residential Tenancy Agreement, you must connect all the services to the premise such as the water, gas, electricity, telephone and internet. If you would like a telephone line you will need to arrange for this to be connected and pay the relevant connection fee. It is also advisable to arrange contents insurance to cover your personal possessions in case of theft or damage. Don't forget to let your friends and family know your new address.

What is a Condition Report?

Prior to moving in to the property, the agent or landlord must supply you with two copies of the Condition Report. This report details the condition of the property according to the agent or landlord. Once you have moved in, it is important to check that the Condition Report accurately reflects the actual condition of the property. Any changes should be noted on the Condition Report and a signed copy returned to the agent or landlord within three days of you moving in to the property. The agent or landlord will refer to the Condition Report at the end of the tenancy to determine whether you are eligible for a full bond refund.

Can the rent be increased during the lease?

The rent is set for the fixed term of the lease agreement, however after the fixed term has expired the rent can be increased by the agent or landlord by giving the tenant 60 days notice in writing. There must be at least six months between each rental increase but there is no regulation as to how much it may be increased.

What are the regulations regarding property inspections?

Agents or landlords have the right to make one general inspection every six months, however not within the first three months of tenancy. Twenty four hours written notice must be provided before an inspection. Inspections may also be conducted for other purposes such as for repairs or maintenance, or to show the property to prospective buyers.

Do I have to give notice when I want to vacate the rented premise?

You must give written notice when ending a tenancy agreement at least 28 days in advance. It is important to also notify utility companies in advance that you will be vacating so final readings can be done.

Can I vacate before the end of my lease?

Yes you can, but you must pay any costs in finding a new tenant, and rent until the new tenant moves in.

How do I get my bond back from the Residential Tenancy Bond Authority (RTBA)?

A Bond Claim form is signed by the agent and the tenant and sent to the RTBA. The RTBA then transfers the bond money to your bank account. If there is damage to the property, or rent owing, the agent or landlord may claim some or all of the bond.

5. Where to find a rental property or a property to buy

Real Estate View - the industry owned website.

Real Estate - established in 1995 and used by News Limited Newspapers.

Domain - website from Fairfax Newspapers.

Property Web - independent listing.

Aussiehome only independently owned real estate portal in Australia, which has clients in Western Australia as well as Victoria.

Nestoria is a free to use real estate search engine that lets users search the combined listings of many portal partners

Homehound is a partnership between Property Page Pty Ltd (PPL) and the Independent Print Media Group.PPL is a company owned by the real estate industry's major franchise groups. The shareholders are Century 21, LJ Hooker, Ray White and Raine and Horne – all members of the National Real Estate Franchise Association (NREFA). Listings are provided by licensed real estate agents and it is 100% free for real estate agents to list regular listings.

Homeiown is an interesting blog created by a newcomer on renting and buying property in Australia (not professional advice, but useful tips).

Homeone is an Australian and New Zealand home building and renovators resource with an excellent links section and a special category for building inspections.

Rental Guide - dedicated rental search website.

Most cities in Australia have free local newspapers that are delivered to your letterbox - these are usually full of real estate advertisements and can be easily browsed whilst enjoying a cup of coffee. They will also help you learn a little bit more about the local community.

Many of the above websites also provide details on local amenities, the location of nearby shops, transport, schools etc. If you visit a property for purchase, you may like to knock on the front door of the next door neighbour and ask them about the area.

When renting or buying it is a great idea to contact a few real estate agents in the areas you are interested in. You can do this by making appointments to meet with them (especially if buying) and give your details and requirements to the agent (ideally one you think will call you and keep you up to date). Ask them to contact you when something in both your price range and with your requirements is available.

It is still a good idea to keep a look out for yourself and not to rely on the agents calling you. You can find real estate agents online via Yellow Pages and True Local.

You will generally find that agents are more helpful if you are looking to buy than if you are looking to rent. Unfortunately this seems to be a common complaint by potential tenants. For this reason, it can be good if you are renting to find an agent that specialises in rentals specifically if there is such an agent in that area. Most of the property websites have a separate section for rentals (also known as leases).

If you are looking at buying and you find THE property it is important to get a building inspection (for pests, building faults, environmental issues) before purchasing to ensure that you know what you are really buying. You can sign an offer to purchase subject to a building inspection, and this is not unusual.

Alternatively, if the property is going to auction you will need to get the inspection done before the auction. You can get the name of a registered inspector by calling the local government council and there are also some private home inspection services.

6. Property Industry Organisations

Real Estate Institute of Australia

Real Estate Institute of Victoria

Real Estate Institute of New South Wales

Real Estate Institute of South Australia

Real Estate Institute of Queensland

Real Estate in WA

Real Estate Institute of Tasmania

Real Estate Institute of Northern Territory

Real Estate Institute of the ACT

Australian Property Institute - property professional organisation.

Property Council of Australia - provides advocacy, information, networking, communications and professional development services for people in the property industry.

Worldwide Commercial Real Estate Information Portal - lots of local location information of statistical and general interest.

Foreign Investment Review Board - Australian Government Website for international investors - people living in other countries and wanting to buy property in Australia.

Advertisers on this Renting or Buying Property page

Commonwealth Bank Australia - Learn more about moving to Australia
http://www.commbank.com.au/personal/international/moving-to-australia/default.aspx?cid=ICSNewcomersNetwork

CurrencyFair
CurrencyFair - The fair way to exchange - Try it now and avoid being fleeced - Peer to peer Foreign Exchange
http://www.currencyfair.com

Lily Ong - Business Lawyers and Migration Consultants Australian Visas
http://www.lilyong.com

Melbourne Serviced Apartments - offers serviced apartments, corporate housing, executive and business accommodation
http://www.moveandstay.com/melbourne/default.asp
Park Avenue Accommodation Group
Park Avenue Accommodation Group - Melbourne Serviced Apartments, Town Houses and Suites - temporary accommodation for the the discerning business traveller, holidaymaker and tourist
http://www.serviced-apartments.com.au

Links on this Renting or Buying Property page
1form
http://www.1form.com.au

Aussiehome
http://www.aussiehome.com

Australian Capital Territory Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services
http://www.dhcs.act.gov.au

Australian Capital Territory Department of Justice and Community Safety
http://www.fairtrading.act.gov.au/Pages/Corporate/Publications.html

Australian Capital Territory Government
http://www.act.gov.au

Australian Property Institute
http://www.propertyinstitute.com.au

BCL Australian City Life
http://www.bcl.com.au

Bureau of Meteorology
http://www.bom.gov.au

Consumer Affairs Victoria - Buying and Selling Property
http://www.consumer.vic.gov.au/CA256EB5000644CE/page/Buying+%26+Selling+Property?
OpenDocument&1=50- Buying+%26+Selling+Property~&2=~&3=~


Consumer Affairs Victoria - Renting
http://www.consumer.vic.gov.au/CA256EB5000644CE/page/Renting?OpenDocument&1=
910-Renting~&2=~&3=~


CouchSurfing
http://www.couchsurfing.com

Domain
http://www.domain.com.au

Foreign Investment Review Board
http://www.firb.gov.au

Get a Room
http://www.getaroom.com.au

Gumtree
http://www.gumtree.com.au

Homehound.com.au
http://www.homehound.com.au

Homeiown.com
http://www.homeiown.com

Homeone
http://www.homeone.com.au/inspection/

Housing New South Wales
http://www.housing.nsw.gov.au

Housing SA
http://www.familiesandcommunities.sa.gov.au/Default.aspx?tabid=2014

Housing Tasmania
http://www.dhhs.tas.gov.au/about_the_department/structure/operational_units/
human_services/housing_tasmania


Last Minute
http://www.lastminute.com.au

Local Government Association of Queensland
http://www.lgaq.asn.au

Local Government Association of South Australia
http://www.lga.sa.gov.au

Local Government Association of Tasmania
http://www.lgat.tas.gov.au

Local Government Association of the Northern Territory
http://www.lgant.nt.gov.au

Municipal Association of Victoria
http://www.mav.asn.au

National Real Estate Franchise Association
http://www.nrefa.com

New South Wales Department of Local Government
http://www.dlg.nsw.gov.au

New South Wales Office of Fair Trading - Renters and Home Owners
http://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/Tenants_and_home_owners.html

Newcomers Network Locations
http://www.newcomersnetwork.com/locations

Northern Territory Department of Justice, Consumer Affairs
http://www.caba.nt.gov.au/justice/consaffairs/publications.shtml

Oz Free Online
http://www.ozfreeonline.com

Property Council of Australia
http://www.propertyoz.com.au

Property Web
http://www.propertyweb.com.au

Queensland Government Department of Housing
http://www.housing.qld.gov.au

Queensland Government Office of Fair Trading - Real Estate
http://www.fairtrading.qld.gov.au/oft/oftweb.nsf/AllDocs/RWP1AA73AA1E2147D3
B4A256B49000C16AB?OpenDocument&L1=Consumers


Real Estate
http://www.realestate.com.au

Real Estate in WA
http://reiwa.com

Real Estate Institute of Australia
http://www.reia.com.au

Real Estate Institute of New South Wales
http://www.reinsw.net.au

Real Estate Institute of Northern Territory
http://www.reint.com.au

Real Estate Institute of Queensland
http://www.reiq.com.au

Real Estate Institute of South Australia
http://www.reisa.com.au

Real Estate Institute of Tasmania
http://www.reit.com.au

Real Estate Institute of the ACT
http://www.reiact.com.au

Real Estate Institute of Victoria
http://www.reiv.com.au

Real Estate View
http://www.realestateview.com.au

Relocation Network
http://www.relocationnetwork.com.au

Rental Guide
http://www.rentalguide.com.au

South Australia Office of Consumer and Business Affairs - Real Estate
http://www.ocba.sa.gov.au/Realestate/

South Australia Office of Consumer and Business Affairs - Tenancies
http://www.ocba.sa.gov.au/tenancies/

Tasmania Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading - Tenancy and Real Estate
http://www.consumer.tas.gov.au/tenancy__and__real_estates

Tenant Advice Service Western Australia
http://www.taswa.org

Tenants Information and Advocacy Service South Australia
http://www.anglicare-sa.org.au/services/housing.html

Tenants Union Australian Capital Territory
http://www.tenantsact.org.au

Tenants Union of New South Wales
http://www.tenants.org.au

Tenants Union of Queensland
http://www.tuq.org.au

Tenants Union of Tasmania  
http://www.tutas.org.au

Tenants Union of Victoria
http://www.tuv.org.au

Tenants’ Advice Service, Darwin Community Legal Service
http://www.dcls.org.au/tennants_advice.html

Territory Housing
http://www.territoryhousing.nt.gov.au

Travelsmart
http://www.travelsmart.gov.au/links/index.html

True Local
http://www.truelocal.com.au

Victorian Government Department of Human Services Office of Housing
http://www.housing.vic.gov.au

VroomVroomVroom
http://www.vroomvroomvroom.com.au

Western Australia Department of Consumer and Employment Protection - Real Estate and Renting
http://www.docep.wa.gov.au/ConsumerProtection/Content/Real_Estate/index.htm

Western Australia Government Department of Housing and Works
http://www.dhw.wa.gov.au

Western Australia Local Government Association
http://www.walga.asn.au

Worldwide Commercial Real Estate Information Portal
http://www.researchworldwide.com

Wotif
http://www.wotif.com

Yellow Pages
http://www.yellowpages.com.au
Last updated: 26th July 2010
Subscribe

Ebooks you can buy

Upcoming Events

In Melbourne, Sydney,
Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane
Second Wednesday Monthly

Adelaide, Australia
9 July 2014
Free Living, Working and
Networking in Adelaide


Brisbane, Australia
9 July 2014
Free Living, Working and
Networking in Brisbane

Perth, Australia
9 July 2014
Free Living, Working and
Networking in Perth 6pm


Sydney, Australia
9 July 2014
Free Living, Working and
Networking in Sydney 6pm


9 July 2014
Free Newcomers
Networking 7:30pm

Melbourne, Australia
9 July 2014
Free Living, Working and
Networking in Melbourne 6pm


9 July 2014
Free Newcomers
Networking 7:30pm


Subscribe to our monthly email newsletter
http://eepurl.com/t2xdf

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
I am a real person *
Mailing List