Whether you’re a new tenant moving into your first rental, or you are moving onto your next temporary home, consider all the setup costs so you don’t get surprised with a hefty bill. It pays to create a ‘moving file’ so you can gather all the related papers in one place and keep a track of risings costs so they don’t creep up on you.
1. Bond payment
This is probably the biggest outlay you will encounter. It’s a one-time security deposit that must be paid in advance on the tenancy commencing, and it protects the landlord from rent arrears or damage to the property. Typically, a bond is usually the cost of four or six weeks rent and is refunded at the end of the lease unless there are any damages to cover.
2. Advance rent payment
Another big outlay is an advanced rent payment of at least one month’s rent, which you must pay before moving in. The amount depends on the type of property and rental agreement.
3. Break-lease fees
When you sign a new lease, you may be informed about a ‘break-lease fee’. This is only charged to tenants that have broken an existing lease. This is due to the fact that there are costs associated with finding a new tenant. Therefore, the existing tenant is responsible for paying for the cost for finding the new tenant. This cost is set out in the existing lease, so you can always check with your agent about the break-lease fee.
4. Not giving appropriate notice before you leave
By not giving appropriate notice to your agent that you wish to leave the property, you can incur fees. This is because by leaving or stopping rent payments without giving appropriate notice is a breach of contract between you and your landlord. VCAT can award compensation to landlords for money lost because of such a breach.
5. Purge before packing
The cost of moving all your items can really escalate when you start including removal firms and van hire. Large and valuable items, such as heavy dining tables, and artwork, can incur extra moving costs, while properties with no lift access can also affect the final outlay. If you are going to move yourself, call in favours from friends and start collecting boxes a couple of months in advance so you don’t spend a fortune on buying packing equipment.
6. Set up costs
If this is your first rental and you are moving into an unfurnished property, you’ll often have to buy your own white and electrical goods, like a washing machine, microwave, vacuum and even a fridge, not to mention all your furnishings as well. Shop around in stores and online for the best deals and ensure you arrange delivery for the day you move in so you know you won’t get stuck without the essentials.
7. Utilities connection
Some rental fees may include the cost of utilities, but you may still need to budget for cable or Internet services. Other utilities to budget for include gas, water and electricity, and you may have to pay a connection fee if you are starting a new tenancy. Some agents offer a utility connection service but be careful about signing any agreements regarding utilities as there may be hidden fees and you could probably get better deals if you shop around for the utility connections yourself.
8. Contents insurance
Renter’s are not covered by a landlord’s insurance and are also not responsible for the buildings loss or damage that isn’t your fault, however you are responsible for your own belongings, such as furniture, electrical goods and valuable items, should any disasters occur such as fire or theft. Investing in your own contents insurance will protect you from such losses and also cover you for any accidental damage to your rental property that is your fault. It may also cover your possessions when moving between properties, which is great if you have any valuable or delicate items.
9. Cleaning costs
This only applies when you are leaving a rental property as you will have to have it professionally cleaned for the incoming tenants. The more cleaning you do yourself in advance will help keep the costs down, and don’t forget you’ll have to clean all windows, fly screens, outdoor decks, and tidy the yard. Oh and don’t forget to re-fit or re-hang any light fittings and curtains that you may have removed when you first moved in. Some landlords and agents may insist on carpets and curtains being steam cleaned so double check what is required from your final clean as you don’t want to sacrifice your bond.
10. Takeaway and massage expenses!
Let’s face it, moving day is a tiring, and often stressful, experience, and we’re pretty sure you won’t have the energy at the end of the day to rustle up a meal. You may also have to wait for utility connections to get up and running, so factor in the cost of takeaways for a few days while you set yourselves up. Oh, and you’ll deserve a recovery massage too!
Written by Louise O’Bryan and Jason Barnett