There are a lot of things to think about when you’re choosing where to live and who to live with. For example, you may need to choose a location that not only suits your rental budget, but is also close to public transport and facilities.
Many young people share accommodation with others in order to split the cost of rent and utilities, such as electricity and gas. However, for those who have a steady income, there is also the choice to live alone. There are positives and negatives with both arrangements.
Some of the positives of shared accommodation are sharing the financial burden of rent/utilities, the opportunity to make new friends, and safety—living with others can provide extra security.
Some of the negatives of shared accommodation can include issues with keeping the house/flat clean—whose turn is it to wash the dishes, flatmates who don't pay bills/rent on time, and differences in lifestyle or values that may cause conflict.
Some young people deal with these issues by establishing clear ground rules with their fellow housemates at the start of the tenancy. This could mean making decisions about:
- sharing the cost of rent and utilities
- whether food is to be shared or everyone is to buy their own
- sharing responsibility for household chores
- rules about noise, visitors and parties
- withdrawal from the rental lease when someone is moving out.
Once you have decided on a location and whether or not to share or live on your own, there are a number of ways that you can search for a place to rent. You can:
- look online—there are websites that have descriptions and photos of rental properties, and you can search by suburb, price and type of accommodation (e.g. unit, townhouse or house)
- visit real estate agencies in your chosen area to get a current rental list.
When you find a place that you’re happy with, you’ll need to complete an application form and pay a bond (this is usually equal to about 4 weeks of rent). In Queensland, the Residential Tenancies Authority (not the real estate agent) holds the bond, which is a deposit to make sure you keep the property in good condition.
Before you sign a lease agreement:
- Make sure you understand the conditions of the lease and your responsibilities. If you’re unsure, then it's best to ask for help from the Residential Tenancies Authority or Tenants Queensland.
- Inspect the property. Take careful note of anything that is damaged and tell the agent or landlord. It's a good idea to take photos of anything that is broken or needs repair and keep these for your own records.
- How secure is the property? Sometimes you can request extra security for windows and doors, before you move in.