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First Time Renters – What You Need to Know

By Sophie Read

You’ve been to the open for inspections, submitted your application form and you’ve just had the great news that you’ve been approved for your first rental property. The question you’re probably asking yourself is, what happens next?

What is a residential tenancy agreement?

In Queensland this is known as a general tenancy agreement or Form 18a, although it is also commonly known as a lease. It is a legally binding, written contract that outlines the legal rights and responsibilities of a tenant and a property manager/owner. It applies to everyone renting the property.

The general tenancy agreement outlines items such as:

  • the amount of rent and how it is to be paid
  • the length and type of tenancy
  • the amount of bond required
  • other conditions and rules.

What is a bond?

A bond is a security deposit paid at the start of the tenancy. At Ray White Aspley Group, a bond equivalent to four weeks’ rent is usually charged. The rental bond is lodged with the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) and you will receive a receipt in the mail from the RTA with your bond number.

The bond is paid back to you when the property is vacated, provided no money is owed for rent, damages and other costs.

What is an entry condition report?

The Entry Condition Report is an important document that records the condition of the property, together with any inclusions, at the beginning of the tenancy. Taking the time to fill out this report carefully and accurately will avoid any future problems, especially with the bond refund process.

You will be provided with a signed copy of the Entry Condition Report when you collect keys from our office.  Legislation allows three days for you to complete the tenant section of the report, sign all pages, and return to our office. We then have 14 days to return a signed, completed copy back to you.

If you do not complete and return the report it means you agree with the property manager/owner’s description of the property. However, failure to complete the report is an offence. The report, and any photos or video, can be used as evidence by QCAT if there is a dispute.

Handy checklist:

  1. Fill out the Entry condition report or Condition report before you move into the property
  2. Go from room to room and fill in each section of the report (use extra pages if necessary)
  3. Note everything you see (e.g. marks, stains, chipped paint, damage)
  4. Check everything works properly including:
  • windows, doors, gates and locks
  • taps (including hot water)
  • shower
  • toilet
  • bath
  • sinks
  • oven, cooktop, grill and rangehood
  • air conditioning
  • fans
  • lights
  • pool filter and heating
  • water sprinkler systems
  • powerpoints
  • TV points
  • phone
  • smoke alarms
  • washing machine, dryer, dishwasher (if applicable)
  • security system
  • garage doors

Note the condition of:

  • furniture (if applicable)
  • fittings (e.g. curtains or blinds)
  • outdoor areas (including gardens, flower beds and bins)

Take photos so there is a record of the condition of the property when you moved in.

Happy renting!!!

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