How not to be rent asunder
As with any relationship, the most important thing for you and your landlord/landlady is open, honest communication. If they tell you anything you don’t understand, it’s your right to ask them to clarify it with an explanation. If you find that you’re being pressured to answer quickly, take your time until you completely understand the situation and have comfortably made up your own mind – rushing clients is a common technique used to close an agreement, and you don’t want to make a decision that you’ll regret for months.
You also have the right to ask for any communication in writing. Keep a copy of all documents, so that you know what you’ve agreed to and where you stand throughout the lease.
When inspecting a new place, check its utilities thoroughly, and examine all possible safety issues (you can ask your local fire station for tips). As a renter, it is your right to refuse to agree to any contracts until you’re satisfied that your home won’t kill you overnight.
Homer Simpson said that one of the three sentences that will get you through life is: “It was like that when I got here.” When you first arrive in a new place, check its condition, and complete a Condition Report. Your agent needs to provide you with this document. If necessary, take pictures. This means that when the property is inspected at the end of your lease, you won’t be held liable for what was already damaged.
If you do all of this, you should be in a position to make a well-informed choice and reach a fair agreement – and with everything in writing, you’ll be able to hold people to what they’ve stated in the contract. Rights upheld! For more information, try this guide from Consumer Affairs Victoria
Raiding the fridge to fill a cheese craving is definitely not a good tactic when inspecting a potential rental property…