Inspecting a property
Inspections are arranged with the real estate agent or landlord. These can be arranged directly with them or the property may be open for inspection – where anyone can attend – at a set time and date.
Tips for when you inspect a rental property:
- Use the Tenants Union of Victoria's property inspection checklist to help you
- Have a list of questions to ask about the property
- Take a photocopy of your documents, like your identification and references, and a pen so you can complete an application straight away if you need to
- You may be able to get an application form from the agent or landlord before the inspection. Ask them for a copy or see if there is one on their website.
Applying for a rental property
If you like a property, you will need to fill in an application form and provide the documents they ask for.
These could include:
- Your identification, including photo identification like a driver's licence or passport, Medicare card, health care card or birth certificate
- Names and contact details of people who will give you rental or personal references
- Your rental history
- Rent payment receipts or statements
- Employment details and history
- Proof of income, like current payslips from your employer or your Centrelink income statement
- Bank details and copies of your bank statements.
You will have to give the agent or landlord permission to contact anyone listed for references.
Before you submit applications, tell the people you have listed as your references that agents may contact them.
Follow up with the agent in a few days and ask if they need any other information.
If you are unsuccessful, ask why as this might help with your next application.
The landlord or real estate agent can access a tenant database that shows if you have not paid your rent in the past. If you apply to rent the property, tell the agent if you are listed on a tenant database and why this happened, as they will find out when they check.
What financial assistance is available
Need help with the bond?
A bond is a security deposit that most landlords will ask you to pay if you want to rent their property.
The bond money is held by the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority and is returned in full at the end of your lease, unless the landlord is eligible to claim for damages or unpaid rent.
The Victorian Government offers eligible people the option of borrowing the money for a bond as an interest free bond loan.
Need help with paying your rent?
Commonwealth Rent Assistance is a regular extra payment if you pay rent and get certain payments from Centrelink.
Once you get the right property
If you are successful in getting a property, you will need to agree to a date to move in. This date will be when your tenancy starts and you begin paying rent.
The landlord or agent will then ask you to sign a residential tenancy agreement – this is also known as a lease. Read it properly and make sure you are happy with it before you sign.
Consumer Affairs Victoria's website has an entire section on renting, covering everything you need to know about renting.