It is typical for people moving to Brisbane for the first time to rent a property, either for the entire time they are in Brisbane on an international assignment or, for a permanent relocation, until they are ready to search for a property to buy.
Renting a property in an unfamiliar location can be a daunting process. Without detailed knowledge people can easily feel overwhelmed and can experience unanticipated issues or expenses either during or at the end of their tenancy. The guide below serves to provide a broad overview of some of the more critical aspects of the Queensland Residential Tenancy rules.
Our Relocation Consultants are experts in this field and can help guide you through the process not only find your ideal rental property faster and for the right price, but to also then step you through the application process and advise how to best present your application in a competitive market. They can then review and negotiate the tenancy agreement to ensure you are fully aware of your rights and responsibilities as a tenant in order to avoid issues during or at the conclusion of your lease.
Property Inspections and Applications
The application process amongst real estate agents in Brisbane is fairly standard. They will generally require a separate application for every applicant over 18 years old, 100 points of ID, references, employment history and proof of income. Your Habitat Relocations Consultant can guide you through this process including discussing with you what lease term (typically 6 or 12 months), rental offer and start date may appeal to the property owner in the circumstances to increase the competitiveness of your application.
Many agents prefer online applications, so have your documentation scanned and ready to attach to online application forms. Note that no payments are required to lodge rental applications in Queensland.
Securing the lease - initial payment and bond
Once your application is accepted you are typically given 24 hours to pay a deposit equal to 2 weeks rent to secure the rental property. You should ensure that you have examined the terms of the lease before paying any deposit. The deposit is NOT refunded should you choose not to go ahead with the lease. The deposit does constitute 2 weeks advance payment of rent.
You should also have funds available equal to 4 weeks rent, as is the amount of bond that must be received by the agent prior to handing out keys to the property at commencement of the lease. The bond is the landlord’s protection against damage. Although this bond is paid to the agent at first instance, it is then forwarded on the Residential Tenancies Authority to be held by them until the end of the tenancy.
Main Lease Terms
Standard Lease Agreement
All residential tenancies in Queensland are governed by a standard lease agreement (Form 18a). Most real estate agencies will then add a series of Annexures containing special conditions specific to their agency. Your Habitat Relocations Consultant will be able to advise which of these special conditions are normal practice and which are unfair or onerous.
Residential tenancies can be ‘fixed term’ or periodic’. New leases are typically offered as fixed term leases, i.e. the tenancy will specify the length of the lease term, which is usually a long term lease of 6 or 12 months. Periodic tenancies, i.e. weekly / monthly, may sometimes be offered at the discretion of the owner after the initial fixed term lease expires.
Rent is usually advertised as a weekly amount. Tenancy agreements usually require rent to be paid weekly, in advance, but you may be able to negotiate fortnightly or monthly rent (payment in advance) if that is more suitable to your circumstances.
Break Lease Costs
If you end your lease early you will be responsible to continue paying rent until a new tenant starts another lease at the property or until the end of the lease (whichever is earlier). You may also need to pay a reletting fee which is usually equal to one weeks rent plus GST as well as reasonable advertising costs. It is the responsibility of the landlord to make reasonable efforts to relet your property. Your Relocation Consultant may be able to negotiate for the inclusion of a diplomatic clause in your lease, when the lease is first issued, which allows you to break your lease early if your employer moves you interstate or overseas. Your Habitat Relocation Consultant will also be able to confirm how the agent will be advertising the property and what costs will be incurred.
Utilities and other costs
It is normal practice for tenants to be responsible for paying gas, electricity, phone and costs. Although water connection and fixed water supply costs are borne by the owner, consumption costs may be payable by the tenant. Your Relocation Consultant can guide you through this process and advise if there are any other costs that may be incurred under the terms of the lease – e.g. end of lease cleaning costs, gardening, pool maintenance etc.
Moving in - Entry Condition Report
On the day the lease commences you will collect keys and an Entry Condition Report from the managing agent. The Entry Condition Report will state the condition of the premises (in the opinion of the real estate agent) at the start of the tenancy, and any past damages in detail.
Having photographic evidence and the condition report is very important as it may be used as evidence if there is a disagreement regarding the bond claim in the future. It is critical that this report be completed by the tenant in a comprehensive manner, noting items of damage / wear missed by the real estate agent and returned to the real estate agent within 3 days.
Habitat Relocations has vast experience in this area and know the issues that cause the most problems on exit, so we are able to assist you to complete the report to best protect your interests when you exit the property and seek a return of your bond.
The real estate agent or landlord must also provide a Queensland rental guide, issued by the Queensland Residential Tenancies Authority, which will include a summary of tenant’s rights and obligations, landlord rights and obligations and other information relevant to residential tenancies. The Queensland Residential Tenancies Authority can be contacted on 1300 366 311 to answer any questions you have before, during or at the end of the tenancy.
The above information is a general guide only and does not cover all residential tenancy matters. Please get in contact with Habitat Relocations and we would be happy to discuss your requirements, assist you with securing your new home in Brisbane and settling you in as quickly as possible.