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Rental Rules In Australia

When we arrived in Perth in 2007, we were lucky to be able to enjoy 3 months of rent free furnished accommodation, in a two bed-roomed apartment with views of the city, paid for by my husband’s sponsoring company.When our friends dropped us at the apartment the night we landed , they noted that the beige carpets were a bit grubby, and the kitchen didn’t look too clean either. In the next few days I set about giving the kitchen a good clean, washing all the dishes, pots, etc.

We had been there for about 1 month when my husband was told the estate agent was going to drop by for an inspection. I was out the day they came, but they left a report saying the carpets were dirty and could we please make sure we hired a carpet cleaning service to take care of that!We were quite shocked at that, since we knew that the carpets were dirty when we moved in, so my husband complained to his company. They said not to worry, as that apartment was rented to them and they had various employees staying there throughout the year, they would have them cleaned when we left! That’s when I found out that rental inspections are common in Australia!

The dreaded inspections are usually done every 3 months, by the agent or owner, depending on who manages the property.

They’ll send you a letter nominating a date which can be accepted or changed to suit you. But, the agent or owner have a key, so you don’t even have to be present!! So seriously, why or why are most rentals carpeted with beige or off white carpets?? Wouldn’t it make more sense if the owners had the properties they intended to rent either tiled or with wooden floors?

Another silly thing is, renters are NOT able to put any hooks or nails on the walls!! Why can’t you surround yourself with some photos or art to please your eyes, on the understanding that when you leave you’ll have to patch up the walls and paint them over if necessary? If you are lucky the house might have 4 or 5 hooks in the whole house stuck in the most inappropriate walls, probably at the owner’s discretion, and you must make do with those!

If you prefer colourful walls instead of just white walls, tough luck you cannot paint the walls to please you either!
You cannot even hang curtains if there are no curtain rails, because you might just damage the precious walls if you do your own drilling! You have to ask the owner in writing if he can provide the rails and then they will send someone to do the drilling!

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I couldn’t wait to be an owner after the 3 months were up!!
Luckily we were able to buy a relic from the 70’s that fit our budget and have been remodelling it ever since!

Just yesterday a friend was telling me how she had been sick over the weekend and had forgotten there was an inspection scheduled for Monday on her little unit. When she left for work on Monday morning, she didn’t make up the bed, didn’t open the bedroom curtains and left the breakfast dishes in the sink.

On arriving home she was shocked to see the inspection report mentioning that the house was a mess!! She even cried, because she felt so ashamed, when on all the previous inspections for the past year, she had always been praised on the beautiful house she kept! So why would the agent be so cruel? I mean, dirty dishes in the sink or an unmade bed do not detract from the fact that the walls are still immaculate, no holes, no one has painted them, the carpets are clean… She too can’t wait to be an owner and be free of the dreaded inspections!!

Sami was born in Mozambique and has lived in South Africa, Germany, Portugal and now lives in Australia. The moves were usually to accompany her husband on his various work projects. She has worked in Hospitality, Banking, had her own picture framing business, taught English as a Second Language and is now a Practice Manager in a General Practitioner clinic. Sami blogs at Sami's Colourful World

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