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A renter’s guide : What to look for in a rental property

By Monica Boyd

Choosing a home to rent can be a very personal decision and trying to decide if a rental property is suitable for you at an open for inspection can be difficult.

Especially when you consider how little time you have to look at it and with 15 or more other people viewing it at the same time too.

Avoid overlooking something as necessary as “will my fridge fit in the kitchen”, in the rush of an open house.

Make the most of what limited time you have to inspect a rental by referring to this simple checklist of practical areas to consider before signing a rental agreement.


Have a look for deadlocks, window locks and other security features. The level of security can make a huge impact on your insurance. Check before going to the inspection with your insurance company for what security features would make a positive or negative impact on your insurance policy.

Deadlock – Where can I store…

Storage can be expensive to buy if you don’t have enough of it, especially when you move house later on to a place where you no longer need it. Think about where you’ll store your bike, snowboard and book collection when not in use. Is there enough internal and external storage for all your important items? Also have a think about if there is enough pantry space, linen space and areas for you to store cumbersome cleaning items, like brooms and vacuum cleaners.


Some rental properties are likely to be rented just the way they are when you view them. If there is junk in a garden shed, or the garden needs weeding, ask the agent if it will be taken care of before moving in.

The hot & cold of it

Check the types of heating and cooling available. Find out which rooms it is available in and if it works. Should it not work, ask the agent if and when it will be fixed.

Measure the space

Measure with a tape measure the rooms. Ensure that not only will your prized designer dining table or antique bed fit in the room, but that you’ll actually be able to get it through the door.

Sparky & techy features

The location of the television antenna, powerpoints, telephone and Foxtel outlets can make a difference to the way you layout your furniture and electronics, such as computers and televisions. Make sure that you’re happy with the locations.

Will your white goods fit?

Check that there is space in the kitchen for your fridge, dishwasher and other appliances that you like to have out on the bench. See if your washing machine and dryer will fit in the laundry, or if they come with the property. If you like to drip dry your clothes and other items in the laundry, see that there is space.

Green thumb or not?

Have a look around outside in the garden and check what kind of maintainance is required. Ask whether it is expected you maintain the garden or if there is a gardener that comes around. If so, check what their duties are. If you happen to have a green thumb and want to set up a veggie garden, ask if it would okay to do so.

Are you a gas or electricity kind of person?

This really is a personal choice; some people prefer gas cooking others might like electric hot water. Whichever is your preference check what’s available and that your happy with it.

Other things to consider

Does the property have roller doors or shutters? Check to see if they are electronic or if you manually have to open and close them.

If there is car parking with the property check how many spaces. Have a look at the local parking signage, as you may require parking permits.

If in doubt about anything, ask the agent. Avoid making assumptions which may lead to a headache latter on.

Happy house hunting!

as seen on 16th February

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