Bad news. Desperate young man holding papers and carrying glasses in his hand while sitting on the couch at home

Time to move on and move out

Are you getting kicked out?

The letter has arrived.  You get home from work or a night out and the mail is open on the bench, there and ready for you to read. You have to leave your house because the owner wants to renovate, sell, upgrade, knock down or simply move back in.

Finding a new house can be very stressful and is one of life’s more challenging times.  With rental markets becoming more difficult to navigate and potential tenants entering bidding wars to secure property, we have some tips for house hunters to make the experience a bit less stressful.

Who is going to partner with who?

Tenants – maybe this is the time to separate from your slightly annoying/loud/creepy housemate. If there are a few of you, decide who is going to go with you and set out strategy to make it happen.  Plan who is going to go your new digs and decide what you need in that space.  How many bedrooms will you need, and how many bathrooms?  Can you manage with less bathrooms?  Is your mixed gender house not coping with just one toilet? Make these plans together so you know exactly what you are looking for.  Determine who is going to be on the lease.  Real Estate property managers are generally amenable to a number of people on a lease – its best to have these issues clear from the start.

Budget – to find a new place that suits your household, it might mean that you have to spend a few more dollars than you are now.  Set a budget that you are all happy with. Decide what is your collective ceiling price and stick with it. Make sure all of you are happy with costs and expenses involved in a new house and that you can all afford your contribution to the bond. Make sure that everyone can chip in for the rental truck, removalists or has a friend who can help move. Its tough relying on one person and their dad to move a whole house.

Location – do you need to live in the same location as you are or is it time to find a slightly bigger house in a different suburb that suits your needs and doesn’t inconvenience any of you?  The next suburb over might be a little cheaper or have some bigger properties for the money you are paying now. Or maybe you can move a little further out from the city, another train stop or two along the same line or somewhere that has more of what you all need. Moving house can be a great time to evaluate what you need and what it will cost to have those things.

Rooms – decide who will have what rooms before you set out on your hunt. If someone is willing and able to pay a little more and is happy to do so for a master room or a room with an ensuite, then make sure this is all very clear before you start hunting. No point in looking for a house where nobody is willing to pay extra for a bigger room or an ensuite, or looking for a house or a flat that doesn’t have what you need, like a shared laundry outside of the house or flat. Know exactly what you need and don’t veer from your plan.

Photos – take some photos from each house you look at so you can all sit down and make a decision. Its quite often a little mind boggling when you visit 3-4 houses in one afternoon – they start merging in to one another. Photos will help to jog your memory of each property and may help you make the right decision together.

Be patient – you don’t have to move in to the first house you see or get approved for. Every one in your house needs to be happy and feel like their needs are being both considered and met.

Search online – so much time can be saved by looking for what you want online and setting up an alert on a search site. If you need a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom place in the inner west of Melbourne, identify the suburbs you can afford and make sure your search includes surrounding suburbs.  A property one block away may be in a differing postcode and may be cheaper because of that.

References – make sure you have solid references from all of those applying for the property.  Its hard to cope with if you are getting knocked back for a property because one of the applicants has a past record that you are not aware of. Be clear with your other housemates if you have had issues before with tenancy as it may affect their ability to secure the right property.

Each state has different requirements under tenancy law so know exactly what your rights are. All states have tenancy boards and unions that can represent you if you feel that your rights have been breached. Each state also has different requirements around how much notice landlords need to provide.

  • In New South Wales and Queensland a minimum of 14 days notice is required for you to go but longer times can be negotiated with a landlord.
  • In Victoria, 90 days notice for a fixed term agreement of less than 6 months, otherwise more of the agreement is longer. If your lease has expired, it can be just 30 days
  • In South Australia and Western Australia there is no required minimum notice, but landlord and tenant must discuss the issue and come to an arrangement.
  • In Tasmania, 28 days notice is required for you to leave
  • In Australian Capital Territory, its 3 weeks notice.
  • In Northern Territory, its 14 days notice.

The thing that will save you the most time and money is research. The better you research and plan, the better the outcome will be.