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When you move to Australia, it’s unlikely that you’ll have the perfect house to move into straight away. There might be a period living with friends, or in a temporary home. Here’s how Kiwis can rent a home in Australia.

The process of renting isn’t a lot different to New Zealand, but you will likely be less familiar with the area and the current average prices. This adds an extra layer of complexity to the task, so this article will help make it much easier to find the perfect new home.

Take your time and live in a short-term rental first

It’s recommended that you take your time to find the perfect home. Suburbs are bigger than in NZ and there are more options. Take a short-term rental – some apartments, AirBnBs and motels give competitive rates for a short time period- and, these options give you time to ship your belongings to Australia so they can be delivered direct to your new home.

Where to find rentals

Just like in NZ, there are a bunch of formal- and informal- ways to find a rental.

  • Craigslist : Lots of different options for apartments, housing swaps, shared homes and much more. They are posted by individuals so check the listing out thoroughly beforehand to make sure it’s legit.
  • Gumtree : Similar to Craiglist, individuals list things themselves, not through a company. Do due diligence yourself.
  • Realestate.com.au : Has a great range of options and is clear and easy to navigate.
  • Domain.com.au : A range of apartments and homes across Australia.
  • Look locally : When you find the suburb you want to live in, go visit the area. Find local community notice-boards like those at the supermarket and check out the options there.

Finding a good suburb

There are a range of different options in every city- whether you love the bustle of living in town, with a hundred restaurants within a ten minute walk from your door, or a semi-rural home with a garden and space to play your bagpipes. The things you need to think about when choosing where you live is:

  • Schooling options for children
  • Proximity to employment
  • Amenities in the area like shopping centres, parks
  • Access to public transport

So how do you find out which suburb is best for you? Once you know where you’re working, take a look at the public transport networks and map out accessibility. Look at the schools in the local area. And, ask locals a lot of questions. There are usually three or four great (expensive) suburbs, a handful you won’t want to live in, and the rest somewhere in the middle. Ask them what they like about where they live, and what they recommend for you. Taxi drivers are a great source of information and also ask everyone in your social networks.

The process to find and apply for a rental in Australia

Homes will offer the option of furnished, and unfurnished. Choose which one you want- are you shipping your household goods over to Australia?

The rental market is more competitive than in New Zealand, particularly in the big cities. Once you’ve found your rental, you’ll need to submit a tenancy application. This will require a bunch of documentation, so make sure you have it all ready to go so you don’t miss out on the home you want.

  • The previous three months of bank statements
  • Your previous landlord’s contact information and a written reference
  • Proof the bond for your previous rental was repaid in full, or a reason why it wasn’t
  • You’ll also need to provide ‘100 points’ of documentation that proves your identity, as below:

Document

Points weighting

Passport / birth certificate

70 points

ID proof

  • Drivers licence
  • Proof of ID Card (18+ card etc)
  • Other government ID card

40 points

Two payslips or rent receipts

25 points

Documents with name and current address

  • Car registration
  • Rates bill
  • Utilities bill
  • Bank statement

25 points

 

Bond and rent in advance

The standard amount of bond is between two to four weeks, and landlords will usually request between two to four weeks of rent paid in advance too. This represents quite a lot of money that you need to have in the bank ready to go. If you have a pet, the ladlord may also require an extra pet bind to be paid too.

 

The bond is lodged with the appropriate agency in your state and operates in a similar way to the NZ bond system. It will be returned to you, minus any agreed damages, once you finish the lease and move out.

Things to think about

The rental market in Australia is very competitive, so have all your paperwork ready to go so you don’t miss out. Apply for everything you’re interested in, because this gives you more choices.

Renters rights and laws in Australia

Every state has different rights for renters. Most laws are around maintaining the property to a reasonable standard, reporting problems and expecting repairs in a timely manner, fair evictions/ giving notice, and water bills.

Rental increases in Australia

State

How often can rent be increased?

Notice period

NSW

No limit

60 days

ACT, TAS, SA

Once per 12 months

60 days or eight weeks

QLD, VIC, WA, NT

Once per 6 months

60 days/ two months

Note that rent increases cannot be ‘excessive’.

In NSW, SA, TAS and QLD, you are entitled to a minimum of one fee-free way to pay rent. Other states have no legislation around this yet and as a result, there may be third-party rent collection that means you will have to pay rent payment fees on top of rent.

In Australia, there is a National Tenancy Database, which has a list of problematic tenants. Your landlord can only list you on this database if your rent arrears are larger than the bond, or, you’ve breached a tenancy agreement.

If you have specific queries or problems, check with the local state websites:

ACT

NSW

NT

QLD

SA

TAS

VIC

WA

Can you sublet your Australian rental or get flatmates?

A tenant can only sublet if the landlord provides written consent. The landlord has to be fair about this; if you discuss getting other tenants when you rent a three bedroom place, then it makes sense the landlord should provide the consent needed. They are allowed to withhold consent if the number of tenants proposed will exceed local planning laws or the tenancy agreement, or if the subtenant is listed on a tenant database that identifies bad tenants.

The landlord is also not allowed to ask for money for consent in some states (such as SA) and in the remainder of the country, can only ask a reasonable amount. They can’t increase your rent or add any conditions to the lease as a result of adding flatmates.

Write to the landlord for permission, with documents that prove the sub-tenant can afford to pay the rent and has good character.

You will need to collect the bond and lodge the bond, collect the rent, and take responsibility for the subtenants’ actions.

What types of homes are available?

Australia has, on average, the biggest houses in the world. They have on average 214.6m of floor space, with an average of 2.56 people per home. Homes are spacious and well constructed.

Traditional homes bring to mind the ‘Queenslander’ type property. On stilts, made from weatherboards with a balcony wrapping the house, with a rolled iron roof around. These are much in demand and great for the hot QLD climate- but what about the rest of Aussie?

In the south and west part of Australia, you’ll find homes of brick and stone that work better with the cooler climate. In Sydney, you’ll find terraced housing used for workers cottages many years ago.

The most common type of house nationwide is a self contained home, accounting for 78% of properties. More than 70% of these are three or more bedrooms. Apartments are becoming much more popular, especially in areas in cities like Sydney, Melbourne and the Gold Coast.

Average rental prices in Australia

Prices vary across the country, and across the states themselves. Living in the CBD of Melbourne or Sydney will be quite expensive compared to most other parts of the country, but if you stick to the suburbs you should be able to find a more reasonable rate.

City area

Apartment per week

House per week

Room per week apartment

Room per week house

Adelaide

$295

$370

$150

$124

Brisbane

$395

$420

$225

$133

Canberra

$430

$520

$340

$166

Darwin

$365

$500

$184

$150

Hobart

$350

$430

$190

$150

Melbourne

$400

$420

$250

$136

Perth

$320

$350

$190

$113

Sydney

$550

$600

$350

$200

^ Median rentals in AUD

Connecting utilities in Australia

This part of the process may end up being the most difficult in the process. If you don’t have proof of address - and you may not, seeing as you just moved to the country - then using a connection company may be your best option.

A connection company means one phone call, and they will get connections with all utilities you need - electricity, gas, internet, telephone, water, and pay TV. There are no fees from them. They will require some paperwork - but not proof of address like most utility companies.

Pick what works for you

While this guide is pretty exhaustive, there’s no replacement for your needs- and feelings. Identify what you want and start looking in those areas. Have your paperwork in order, so that when you find a place you like, you can apply immediately- be organised and make a great impression on the landlord.

Shipping your stuff to Aussie? We can help

Whether you’re shipping a whole household of goods over or just a few bits, give us a call or contact us online to go through the details and get a no-obligation quote. We offer full or partial container loads so you can ship as little or as much as you’d like. Are you moving your car or pet over? With more than 25 years experience shipping Kiwis across the Tasman, we have the knowledge and skills for a seamless end-to-end experience.

Our Fixed Price Guarantee:

Our Fixed Price Guarantee:

Unlike many other movers, we will provide you with a fixed quote based on your specific list of items.

Should you wish to add or remove any items, we will adjust our fixed quote accordingly. Hence, no nasty surprises at the end of the move process.

Our Service Promise:

Our Service Promise:

  • We will listen to your individual needs and requirements.
  • We will provide a prompt, competitive quote with in one working day.
  • We will provide you with the highest level of service.
Free In-Home Consultation:

Free In-Home Consultation:

If you are moving the majority of your household items from New Zealand to Australia, one of Ausmoves experienced relocation consultants will visit your home to establish your specific packing requirements and any unique moving needs. Learn more about moving to Australia from NZ.

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