Moving in to a privately-owned property with friends or by yourself? Here are the main things you need to know from signing a lease to purchasing household contents insurance.
Signing a lease
If you've decided to rent a private property, you'll be required to sign a lease agreement. A lease is a legal binding document, so it's very important that you read and understand what you're signing. You may need to pay rent in advance, in addition to a bond or security deposit, which is normally equivalent to four weeks rent.
You should familiarise yourself with the Residential Tenancy Act so you know your rights and responsibilities as a tenant, especially if you have never rented a property before. Visit the Tenancy WA website or call (08) 9221 0088 from within Australia for support. The ‘Making an Application’ fact sheet is a great place to start.
Property Condition Report
Once you move in to your new home, you'll be given a Property Condition Report that lists all of the items in your property and their condition. Be sure to spend time looking around the entire property and write down the condition of each item listed.
If any item is damaged or needs repair, ensure that this is recorded so you are not held financially responsible for the damage or cost of repairs when you move out. Taking this step is essential in ensuring you receive your security deposit back.
Connecting to utilities
If you're moving into shared accommodation that already has other people living in it, it's likely that all of the utilities will already be connected. Be sure to confirm what the arrangement is among the existing residents for paying the utility bills to make sure you're paying a fair share.
If you're moving into accommodation that is not currently occupied, you'll need to connect your utilities such as electricity, gas and the internet.
Electricity: Synergy is the electricity retailer for Western Australia. You can arrange for your electricity to be connected by calling 13 13 53, or by going online to Synergy’s website.
Gas: You can choose from multiple retailers to provide your household gas. These are Alinta Energy, Kleenheat, AGL, Origin and Simply Energy. You should research the options and choose the company that is best for you.
Internet: Most properties around Perth get internet through the National Broadband Network (NBN), however not all properties have been upgraded to this service. You can visit the NBN website to find out what kind of internet is available at your property. There are multiple internet providers available in WA, each offering different plans at different prices. You should research the options and choose the company and plan that is best for you.
Your landlord or property manager will conduct regular inspections to ensure that the property you're living is maintained to a good standard. You will receive 7-14 days’ written notice prior to a rent inspection to prepare.
Inspections typically occur every three months, but this may vary slightly.
If you're moving into unfurnished accommodation, you'll need to provide your own furniture and other household items, including a bed, desk, utensils, cooking equipment, couch, television, etc. The cheapest places to buy furniture in Perth are retail stores called Kmart and Target, both of which are located close to all Murdoch campuses.
A great way to save money is to search for second-hand goods at local second-hand stores (often called ‘op-shops’, including Good Sammy and Salvos Stores) and local buy-and-sell services such as Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace. Read the safety guidelines to make sure you avoid scam sellers.
Household contents insurance
It's a good idea to consider purchasing household contents insurance. Depending on your policy, if your house is robbed and your personal items are stolen or damaged, household contents insurance will replace these items. Your items will also be replaced if there is a house fire and your items are damaged or destroyed.
Be sure to obtain quotes from multiple insurance companies (popular providers in Australia include Allianz, AAMI, SGIO, HBF, RAC, Bupa and QBE) prior to making your final decision as certain high-value items such as jewellery may not be covered, or may only be covered up to a certain amount. Each insurance company may offer multiple products, so it is essential that you ask what is covered in each product/policy you're considering.
Not sure if private accommodation is right for you? Find out about other accommodation options available for international students.