08/11/11 Choosing where to live in Melbourne ABRISA Brazilian Association for Social Development and Integration in Australia Edition 34 Newsletter
Date: 08 November 2011
All new arrivals to Melbourne need to find somewhere to live and most people start in short term accommodation through someone they know or in some form of temporary/short stay facility whilst they search for a rental property.
Naturally it is important to choose a property based on your budget and most people prefer to start with a low weekly rent. However, there are many factors to consider when selecting a location and then securing a 12 month lease.
If you have been living in an apartment in a major city in Brazil, moving to outer suburban Melbourne in a property with a large garden will be a significant change and you could easily feel very isolated and overwhelmed with the extra household duties. If you find work on the opposite side of the city, your daily commute by either car or public transport could take a very long time. If you have children that have special education or medical requirements, it would be most helpful to live close to a reputable school or support service. Some new arrivals choose to live in suburbs with excellent state schools so they do not have to pay expensive private school fees.
Living close to public transport (particularly trains with a direct route to the city) can help families manage with one car instead of two and enable older children to travel independently to a variety of extra curricula activities. Finding a suburb that meets your needs for socializing, participating in sport or enjoying parks and beaches can make living in Australia much more enjoyable. Living close to where you are working can also reduce stress and increase your leisure time.
Many new arrivals spend their first few days travelling around Melbourne either in a hire car or on public transport so that they have an idea of the different suburbs. You can find a summary of each area on the local council website which you can find through the Municipal Association of Victoria website www.mav.asn.au. To find more local information, read the local newspaper and visit these websites www.cityhobo.com, www.onmydoorstep.com.au, www.suburbguide.com.au, www.suburbview.com.
The usual priority list includes a location based on schools, work, travel times, cost and lifestyle. For instance, you may need to choose a lower level of accommodation to live close to schools, work and lifestyle options for the same price and then when your income increases, you can choose a better level of accommodation. Rental properties are not always kept in the best condition, so be prepared. Try and select a property where you can have your own washing machine and car park space.
To overcome the challenge of not having a rental reference, offer to pay up to six months rent in advance or a higher bond amount. You will need to pay a bond (usually equivalent to one month’s rent) that is held with the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority www.rentalbonds.vic.gov.au during your tenancy to provide some protection to the landlord and if you do not keep the property in good condition and cause some damage, money can be collected from the bond to cover the expense when you leave the property. If you have kept the property in good order, then the bond will normally be refunded to you when you leave.
You will always need to pay one month’s rent in advance and keep the property reasonably clean and advise either the landlord or the real estate agent if anything is damaged or not working properly. You should receive a copy of the booklet ‘Renting a home: a guide for tenants’ which you can also download from www.consumer.vic.gov.au/renting - it is important to read this thoroughly to understand your rights and responsibilities. If you feel that you have not been treated fairly, you can seek some assistance from the Tenants Union of Victoria www.tuv.org.au (available in Spanish).
If you complain a lot and make many repair requests, you may find that the real estate agent or landlord will want to increase the rent to cover extra expenses. Urgent repairs must be attended to but remember that you will need to change light globes and smoke alarm batteries, clean exhaust fans and dishwashers, mow lawns, keep gardens tidy, put rubbish bins out etc. You will also want to have a good reference for the next property you move to so it is important to know what you must do to keep the property in good condition.
Hopefully it won’t be long before you are in a position to start looking for a property to buy. We will cover that topic in our next article.
To be provided
Last update: 08th November 2011
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