7 Things You Should Always Do Before Signing a Lease

October 24, 2020
How to Rent a House From the Owner in Melbourne

Before you sign on the dotted line to lease a property and lock yourself into living somewhere, there are a few things you should always consider first. Before going to look for a bank guarantee for a lease or browsing properties, here’s Soho’s guide to what you should know.

1. Inspect the property

Whether you’re on a fixed term or periodic tenancy, you should always inspect a property before signing a lease. And inspect it carefully!

While you’re trying to find a rental, have a checklist of the main features or requirements you’re looking for in a property to see if it will be practical and the right fit for you. You should also keep an eye out for any damage or signs of pests or vermin.

It’s also a good time to get a general feel for the overall complex, street or neighbourhood to see if you’d like to live there, taking note of amenities and shops, neighbours and safety.

Furthermore, if you’re going to be living with others it’s a good idea for them to attend the inspection too. This should prevent any disappointment if the property is not up to their standards…and you from getting the blame!

2. Ask if any damage will be fixed

If you do notice any damage at the inspection, ask the agent or landlord if it will be fixed prior to you moving in. If they agree, ask for this in writing to avoid any discrepancies later down the line.

3. Read the lease carefully

While it may seem boring and technical, be sure to read the entire lease agreement so you know exactly what you’re signing up for. You should keep an eye out for any restrictive or unreasonable lease terms that may impact on your tenancy or lifestyle.

You should also pay special attention to any break lease fees and terms as well as the lease transfer terms. And if you do end up needing to terminate a lease early without a penalty, remember to check out our guide.

Also double check things like the lease period, rental price, how often and how rent must be paid to ensure it’s in line with what was advertised and what you’ve been told by the agent verbally.

Even better, ask if you can take the lease home for a day so you can read it properly in your own time and not be rushed into anything.

4. Ask what the rent includes

Check with the agent exactly what is included in the rent. Are water bills included in the price of the rent? And if there’s a yard will regular garden maintenance be included or will that be your own responsibly and at your own expense?

5. Check if property alterations are allowed

If you would like to, or intent to, alter the property in any way you should check with the agent beforehand. This could include putting a nail in a wall to hang a painting, planting some of your favourite shrubs in the garden or painting a room for a nursery.

While these may seem innocent enough, such alterations can be considered damage to the property and it may cost you if not approved by the landlord or agent prior.

6. Check if you’ll be allowed to sub-let

If you’re planning on sub-letting a room for a little more cash in your pocket, be sure to ask the agent about this first as leases usually contain a clause on subletting. Whether you’re planning to find people to share with and eventually go on the lease themselves, or rent a room through a room-sharing service like Airbnb, you absolutely must check on this first. It’s not only the landlord who might not be okay with this, but it may be against strata by-laws if you’re part of a complex.

7. Ask if your pet will be welcome

If you have a pet or just think you may want to get one in the near future, check whether the property is pet friendly.

If pets are allowed, check exactly what this means. There still may be restrictions on whether they can come inside or make any noise. It may even be restricted to a certain type of pet; for instance, a small outside dog only.

You should also check the suitability of the property for your pet, like if it is fully and securely fenced for example.

You might have other questions of your own about a property and it’s wise to clarify these points – as well as those above, where applicable – before signing a lease so you know exactly what you’re signing up for in a new home.

Looking for your dream rental? 

Soho can help you find it. Set up your profile on Soho to find properties for rent in your favourite suburbs. But don’t just stop there, download our app to get access to more features. Just remember to shortlist or swipe left on our listings so we can send you others that better match what you’re looking for.

Soho is your expert team in Australian real estate, offering an innovative platform for effortless property searches. With deep insights into buying, renting, and market trends, we guide you to make informed decisions, whether it's your first home or exploring new suburbs.
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Our AI match engine will match you with over 150,000+ properties and you can swipe away or shortlist easily. Making your home buying journey faster and easier.