Introduction

The Australian rental market

Rented accommodation has traditionally been in short supply in most major cities, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne.

The healthy property market of the early years of the 21st century saw more rental property becoming available, but by early summer 2005, the amount available was declining (e.g. Sydney's rental vacancy rate had dropped to its lowest level for five years). The shortage of rental properties has seen a predictable increase in rents.

Most properties in Australian cities are let through agents, whose main task is to vet prospective tenants. Always dress smartly when visiting properties or agents’ offices in order to create a good impression. When registering with an agent, you need two forms of identification (e.g. driving licence and passport), written references from your employer and/or previous landlord, and character references. Agents usually contact all referees and may ask why you left your previous accommodation. If you have a pet, you may need a reference from your previous landlord stating that it was clean and well behaved, but animals aren’t usually permitted in rented apartments. You must complete a registration form and should ensure that it’s complete and correct in every detail, or you might jeopardise your chances.

Single parents, students, the unemployed and young people have a tough time finding anywhere at an affordable rent and, if you’re on a low income or are unemployed, you need to prove that you can pay the rent. If you pass muster, you may be given the keys to view a property in return for a $50 deposit and proof of identity.


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