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by Pia Rousseau

Congratulations! You've done the “look, see and decide” thing, received your paper, found a job …. Or not yet!

Hotels for short term stays of a week or so are easy and relatively cheap. There are heaps to be found on accommodation websites such as Stayz.com to suit any and all budgets. With a bit of planning and knowing what to expect, the rest will be a breeze, with the following practical pointers very handy (NOTE: The following tips are written for a QLD market, but many if not all of these are applicable in all states):

1. Pack your identity documents

  • Original Birth certificates, and recent Financial Statements (company and personal)
  • Professional Testimonials and Personal References located in QLD
  • International Driver's License
  • Reciprocal Club's Membership Card
  • Letter of Appointment from new Employer
  • Council Rates and/or copy of Title Deed of overseas property
NOTE: Don't pack these documents in the container that's only going to arrive in 3 months time!
2. Things to do when you get here
  • Obtain your drivers license within the first few days of arrival as this is the main form of Australian identification used by all businesses and local authorities, including letting agents.
  • Obtain a mobile phone as soon as possible or set yours to international roaming.

3. Facts to keep in mind in your search

  • Financial Institution statements. Strict limitations by the Privacy Act apply and the insistence of the presentation of these documents is now deemed as unlawful. However, in the case where you do not have that coveted job yet, but you are cashed up, you might consider volunteering this information to confirm your stability and credibility to the landlord. All information is strictly confidential. Best practice prescribes all application forms to be put through the shredders after 30 days and it will be considered a reasonable request if you ask to have your bank statements returned to you after your application has been processed.
  • Employment contracts (long/short term or contract work) showing starting dates, income and HR contact persons are all invaluable in the process of making a successful application.
  • Write a SHORT cover letter with the main points of the application in bullet points. In this market there could be as many as 20 applications on a property! Assist the property manager any way you can: first impressions contribute a LOT, voice tone, neat handwriting, completeness, a full suite of support documents supplied and all the signatures correctly executed. Time to retrieve, resign, argue or chase after you, simply doesn't exist.
  • Be available at the contact number you have provided the agency.
  • Be patient - agents in Qld have 3 days to process your application form, advise you of the outcome of your application and obtain your signature and/or payment to go ahead. A co-operative, friendly and reasonable attitude will get you through the door so much further!
  • Be ready to negotiate: it's very often not the price that's negotiable, but the terms of the agreement, i.e. terms or pets.
  • You are only allowed to apply for one property at a time: and to enforce this legality, some agencies will require a deposit with the application, which you will forfeit if you do not accept when approved.
  • A bond upfront to the value of 4 weeks rent is required, plus 2 weeks of rent. This money is payable to the agent upon signing the lease documents and before keys are handed over.
  • The bond money is then held in trust by the independent body of the Residential Tenants Authority in each state. Upon vacating the property, after final inspection and depending on the satisfactory condition of the property, this bond amount is refunded to you.
  • Consider the Entry Condition Report document that you receive to complete once you move into a rental property, as a serious matter. If there is not enough room on it, or items not provided for, don't be shy to add it. I strongly recommend you take photographs of every detail and fitting in every room, the agent sure has done so already!
  • Golden rule No 1: it doesn't exist if it's not in writing! Staff rotate frequently, if not offices, then portfolios and it is likely the person you've made that cozy verbal arrangement with, will be all gone in 6 or 12 months time. Get written approval for everything….!

Principal/Director of LetOnly.com

Posted in business |
Posted by Pia Rousseau
15 Aug 2008

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