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What to look for in a rental home

By Emma Smith

By Danielle Cahill 

If you’re looking for the perfect rental it can sometimes be hard to know where to start. Which features are a must and which are just nice to have?

Here’s a quick guide to what to look for in a great rental property.

Finding the perfect rental home can be tricky. Picture: Getty

Is the rental property secure?

Looking for security features such as window locks and deadlocks is a great place to start. You need to know that the property is easy to lock and leave.

If the rental property is located in a building, how do you access common areas such as the carpark and the entrance?

Ring around for quotes on contents insurance for properties you’re interested in, to help you assess any risks associated with those rentals.

Is there both heating and cooling?

Can you get through summer without aircon? Do you need heating for winter as well? Picture: Getty

For most, air conditioning is a must-have to get through long Australian summers. What kind of aircon system does the property have and is it new or old?

Is there heating? Do you think you’ll need a heater?

Just remember, older systems may require more power, which could lead to higher energy bills.

What about storage?

Is there enough room for all of your clothes? Picture: Chris L Jones

You need to check that there are plenty of cupboards so that you won’t struggle to fit all of your things into this rental.

Consider also if there is room for additions such as storage units and shelves that you use now to store things like books and shoes.

Are there any nasties?

Picture: Getty

At the inspection stage, have a good look at the tiles and the walls to ensure there are no signs of unexpected nasties such as mould or even broken tiles or things that clearly need to be repaired.

Does this rental have a garden?

Garden and terraces areas are a great, just work out which area you’d be responsible for maintaining. Picture: Jason Hodges

Garden or terrace areas in a rental are great for entertaining and enjoying your space.

Check if your dream rental has an outdoor space and ask the agent whose responsibility it is to maintain the area.

Are pets allowed in this rental?

For those with furry friends, ask the agent at the inspection if it’s OK to have a pet at the property.

If you’re in Victoria, the Andrews Government’s proposed changes to the Residential Tenancies Actshould make it easier for you to find a rental that allows pets.

Adding a pet resume to your application can help convince the landlord that your pet is unlikely to damage the property.

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