Tenant's Guide to Renting
Get ready to rent
Before you even begin hunting for your new home, it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with the application process so you can make sure all the required documents are in order. Then you’ll be able to submit your application immediately when you find the right property.
Have a look at our Application Form.
In putting together your supporting documentation for the Application Form, please note:
Both sides of the Tenancy Application Form must be completed
Each applicant must submit an individual form
In providing your personal details, you will be required to provide 100 points of identification:
- Drivers license, passport, 18+ card, birth certificate (50pt each)
- Bank/credit card, phone/electricity account statement (25pt each)
In relation to your employment details, you will be required to show proof of income
e.g. the last two pay slips or an employment contract
If you are not currently employed, you may need to provide a letter of parental support and/or a bank statement showing savings or large lump sum deposits
Please give us a call or drop us an email if you need any clarification on the Tenancy Application Form.
While you’re putting together your application information, it’s also a good idea to do a budget check to assess what’s a realistic amount of rent to pay each week or each month. Remember to include regular outgoings such as payments on a car lease or your mobile phone contract, annual costs such as car rego and insurance, and also budget for electricity, gas and water costs. You can then search online for properties up to your maximum weekly budget.
Find the right property
When you’re looking to rent a home, it’s easy to get carried away or feel you have to rush into a decision because you need to move quickly or are worried that you’ll keep missing out. However, remember that once you’ve signed the Tenancy Agreement, you’re locked in to paying rent for the term of that agreement. When you’re searching for your new home, think about how many bedrooms you need, do you need parking, whether you need to be within walking distance of transport, whether you want a garden, and your rental budget.
You can search our Properties For Lease by suburb, property type (house, unit etc) and price range. Register for our Property Alert and you’ll be the first to know when a suitable property becomes available. Hilltops Agency manages properties so there will always be properties coming onto the market – one of them might be your new home.
Inspecting the property
When you find a property you think might be right for you, check the Open for Inspection times. Our properties are usually Open for Inspection by appointments.
Submitting your tenancy application
Once you’ve inspected the property and have decided you want to rent it, you need to click on Apply for Tenancy, complete and submit your Tenancy Application form. The completed form can be given to our Property Manager at the Open for Inspection, submitted online or by fax, or you can drop it in to our office.
Remember that you need to complete both sides of the Tenancy Application Form and provide all the required supporting information. Each applicant must complete a separate Tenancy Application Form.
The information you will need to provide includes:
- Photographic identification – e.g. a current driver’s licence or passport
- Proof of last residential address – e.g. electricity bill, telephone account or a bank or credit card statement
- Proof of income e.g last two wage slips or employment contract, or proof of ability to pay the rent such as a savings account statement or letter of parental support
- Copies of previous rent receipts
The more information you provide, the more likely your application is to be processed speedily and successfully.
What happens next
As professional property managers, our priority is finding the best possible tenant for our client’s rental property. In doing this, it’s necessary for us to carry out a number of checks on potential tenants to ensure that they are suitable for the property and are able to pay the agreed rent. Our first step is to make sure the Application Form is correctly completed, we’ve received all supporting documentation and that your identification documentation is consistent. We then go on to complete a number of further checks. These are approved in law under the Residential Tenancies Act. Further checks include:
- A basic affordability test based on the income of all the applicants and the proposed rental
- Contact with your employer to ensure that your employment and income details are correct
- Contact with personal and professional referees
- Screening through a tenancies database which will highlight any rental issues in the past
When these checks have been completed satisfactorily, we will provide potential tenant information to the owner, who has the right to make the final decision on which tenant is approved.
We will then contact the successful applicant and organise a time to sign the lease. At this time, the applicant will need to pay two weeks rent in advance to secure the property. We then notify any unsuccessful applicants.
How long does processing the Tenancy Application take?
We recognise that waiting for approval on a Tenancy Application is stressful for you, and we act on it as a high priority. Our aim is to respond to all Tenancy Applications within 48 hours. However, sometimes there may be a delay if we have trouble contacting references, getting details we need or if our client is not immediately available to make a decision on the preferred tenant. If so, we will let you know that the process is being delayed and when you may expect a decision.
Signing the Lease
If your Tenancy Application is accepted, you will invited to come in to our office to sign the Residential Tenancy Agreement. In order to secure the property, all individuals who will be on the Agreement must be present at this meeting to sign the lease, having already provide the required ID and financial information. Please allow at least 30 minutes for this appointment.
When you meet with us, we will carefully go through the Residential Tenancy Agreement with you to ensure you understand your legal rights and obligations and also confirm the term of the Agreement (six months, 12 months or other term). The Residential Tenancy Agreement is a legally binding document and there is no cooling off period once you’ve signed it. Therefore it’s important that you understand the Agreement and are happy with it before you sign it.
We will also provide you with copy of the NSW Fair Trading New Tenant Check List. If you haven’t leased a property before, it would be helpful if you have a look at the NSW Fair Trading website at www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au which provides extensive information about NSW Tenancy laws, your rights and other important things to be aware of when you’re renting a property. If you have any further questions, remember to jot them down and ask your Hilltops Agency property manager before you sign the Agreement.
Rental Bond and rent in advance
When you sign the Residential Tenancy Agreement, you will be required to pay one week’s rent in advance. Another one week’s rent is payable prior to moving in – making a total of two week’s rent rent in advance. Personal cheques cannot be accepted for rent.
At this time, you also have to pay your Bond, which is equivalent to four week’s rent. The bond is held against outstanding costs when you leave the property, such as unpaid water bills, or the cost of repairing damage to the property or professionally cleaning the property to an appropriate standard. Your bond must be paid by money order or bank cheque made out to the Rental Bond Board. Bank transfers are not accepted for bond payments, nor are personal cheques. The Bond money is held by NSW Fair Trading, not the property manager. You will receive a letter from Fair Trading within two months confirming receipt of the Bond and advising you of your Rental Bond Number. A refund of the Bond is applied for from Fair Trading when you vacate the property.
We will also ask you to set up your ongoing rent payments through the specialist online rental scheme Rental Rewards. More information about Rental Rewards is available under Paying Your Rent
Paying your rent
At Hilltops Agency, we ask all our tenants to pay rent through direct deposit into our nominated bank account. At the time of signing your lease the bank details will be provided to you with a reference required to be put on all deposits into this account.
It’s the tenant’s responsibility to ensure that gas, electricity, phone services and the internet are connected.
Let people know you’ve moved
Don’t forget to update your address with government departments, banks, schools, work and so on. Australia Post offers a service to redirect or hold your mail. You can find more information about this service here.
When you move in to your new home, you will be given an Inspection Report that details the condition of the property. It’s important that you carefully check the condition of the property and note any points that need maintenance or are different from what is shown in the Report. When you move out of the property, this Report will be used to check for any damage, so make sure it’s accurate. The Inspection Report must be completed and returned to Hilltops Agency office within 7 days.
Keep your belongings safe
Tenants are responsible for insuring their own belongings in the rental property. The landlord insurance will only cover damage to the property itself and fixtures and fittings provided as part of the tenancy agreement. It will not cover damage or loss of tenants’ possessions. We strongly recommend all tenants obtain their own contents insurance.