Moving house can be a costly experience and with an overall dwelling vacancy rate of 2.4 per cent, the stakes are even higher for finding a new property to move to. Sticking around is an easy, convenient option, particularly if you know and like the area, and have developed a good relationship with your real estate agent or landlord.
Renting without a lease
There’s no requirement to re-sign or renew a lease, or a fixed-term tenancy agreement. But if you do want to stay on without signing a new lease, you and your landlord still need to dot all of your i’s and cross your t’s to prevent future complications.
When you don’t sign a new lease at the end of your tenancy – which is usually six or 12 months long – you’ll be renting on what is known as a periodic agreement or a month-by-month agreement. This means the real estate agent or landlord has consented to your tenancy outside of a fixed-term. You’ll still have the same renter’s rights, but your landlord could raise your rent. Your rent can’t be increased within a fixed-term period, unless it’s specified when you re-sign your lease.
Re-signing a new lease
Signing a new six or 12 months lease is the best option for young people who aren’t quite ready to settle down. If you’ve had to hunt around for a new housemate and don’t feel comfortable with locking in a long-term agreement, six months can be an ideal time to test the waters. lf you feel you want to re-sign your lease with the existing co-tenants, your intention to sign a new lease has to be in writing, whether it’s at your request or your landlord’s. Always make sure you read the fine print, even when re-signing a lease.
What to do if you want to leave
If you’ve decided it’s time to leave the property, you need let your real estate agent or landlord know in writing. An email or a written letter is legally acceptable, but a text message is not.
If your lease is almost up and you plan to vacate, you need to let your real estate agent or landlord know within a certain notice period. In Victoria, the required notice time frame is 28 days before the lease ends.
If you’re still on a fixed-term agreement, you can’t leave before the tenancy period is over without paying the remaining rental fees, and you might also lose your bond money, depending on when you wish to break the lease.
What to do before handing back the keys
If it’s time to move out, it’s important to comply with the rules and regulations in your state if you want to keep a clean rental history for years to come. A good place to start is by ensuring the property is in the same condition as when you arrived, bar fair wear and tear. Check your written tenancy agreement for any special conditions, such as having the carpets professionally cleaned.
Once you have cleaned the property, arrange a date for the final inspection with the owner or agent to go through the original condition report. Now is a good time to ask if or what they want to deduct from the bond, and have them put it in writing.
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