Everything you need to know about renting an apartment in Sydney

With its sun-drenched beaches and enviable lifestyle, it should come as no surprise that rental apartments in Sydney are in high demand. The “Harbour City” is home to more than five million people and apartment living is the norm for those wanting to be close to the water. 

In such a competitive market, finding an apartment in the neighbourhood you want to live in can be tricky…but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Provided you’re practical about what you can afford, do your research and are organised with your documentation, securing the apartment of your dreams is within reach. 

Search within your budget

Even if you think you can afford to rent a property that is well outside of your budget, the real estate agent may have other thoughts. Most will do checks on your employment and income to ensure you can meet the weekly payments and will reject your application if they think you can’t. 

So rather than setting your sights on something that is beyond your means, keep your search focused around your budget. Maybe that means looking in a different suburb or making do with two bedrooms instead of three. 

A good rule of thumb is that no more than 30% of your income should be going towards rent. When looking on rental websites such as Rentola Sydney, you can filter the results depending on your budget so that you won’t be tempted by a property that is too expensive. 

Figure out what you “need” and “want”

We’re all a little different when it comes to what we want from our home and the amenities that suit our lifestyle. Perhaps you’re looking for a gated property or an apartment building with a fitness centre. Or maybe having access to an on-site laundry machine is a “must”. To better target your search, write down a list of your “needs” (things you can’t live without), as well as your “wants” (things you would like but are willing to compromise on). 

Know what to look for

When looking at rental properties, it can be easy to get swept away by how an apartment has been presented and forget to consider what really matters. While it might look amazing in pictures, it’s important that you view the property yourself to determine if there are any underlying issues. 

Visible signs of damp and mould should be cause for alarm, as should any large cracks in the walls. It’s a good idea to check that all of the taps are working properly and ensure that any ventilation fans or range hoods are doing what they should be.

Check out the neighbourhood

As they say, you can’t choose your neighbours and the people living around you can make a big difference in the experience you have in a rental property. It’s worth returning to the neighbourhood at different times of the day and night to understand what it is really like. Is anyone playing loud music in the early hours of the morning and does the street generally feel safe? You should also consider the property’s proximity to your work, school or local shops and how living here will impact your daily commute. 

Understand the apartment’s pet policy

If you have a fur baby (or are planning on getting one in the near future), then finding a rental that allows them to stay is essential. Some landlords will permit certain breeds of dogs (generally those on the smaller side) while others might prohibit cats because of the allergies of future tenants. Always double-check with the agent or landlord in regards to your pet AND if there is a pet deposit required to cover any damage they may cause. 

Have your documentation ready

There’s no point finding the apartment rental of your dreams, only to realise that you don’t have your documents in order. By the time you do, it might already be leased out to someone else. 

If you’ve rented previously, ask your landlord for a reference indicating that you were a reliable tenant. If not, ask an employer to give you a character reference instead. Got bad credit? You may have to ask a family member to act as a consigner stating they will be held responsible if you don’t pay your bills.

Understand the contract

Before you sign anything, be sure to read through your tenancy agreement so that you understand what is required of you. How much is the security deposit and what do you need to do when leaving the property to ensure you get it back? 

There may be other conditions of tenancy in the contract, such as maintaining the garden or mowing the lawns on a regular basis. If something doesn’t look quite right, you can always check with the Tenants’ Union of New South Wales regarding your rights.  

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