Renters – Frequently Asked Questions

What Renters Need to Know About Renting a Property?

1. Does my rent include the cost of utilities?

In most cases, utilities are not included in your rental amount. You are responsible for paying your rent, and all outgoing utilities, when you lease a rental property, including any connection fees. It is also your responsibility, as the tenant, to connect your utilities, including water, gas, electricity, and any other you may require at your cost.
A small number of rental properties do have outgoings included; however, this will be highlighted in the marketing package. This is also more typical for boarding houses, or shared accommodation.


2. How is rent calculated? Why is it not just the weekly rent multiplied by four weeks?

In line with Consumer Affairs Victoria, monthly rent is calculated as follows:

The weekly rental amount is divided by 7, to determine the daily rental rate, then multiplied by 365 (days per year), to determine the yearly rate. It is then divided by 12, to determine the monthly rental amount.

For example, a property is advertised as $200 per week, ($200 divided by 7) is $28.57 for the daily rate. The yearly rate ($28.57 x 365 days per year) is then $10,428.05, and the monthly rate ($10,428.05 divided by 12) makes the monthly rent $869.00.

See more info HERE


3. How do I pay my rent?

At the beginning of your tenancy, you are given your rental payment information in our Welcome Email, as well as in the lease, which explains how you are to pay your rent. It also includes your Property Reference Code, which you must include as a reference with each payment.  If you cannot find this information, drop into our office, call, or email us and we will assist you.

Please Note: Reliance Real Estate is a cashless office and does not have EFTPOS facilities available.


4. What does ‘in arrears’ mean?

As agreed in your lease, your rent is due on a particular day each month. If your rent is not paid by this day, you are considered to be ‘in arrears’. This is a serious matter and means you are breaking the terms of your lease. Not only are you causing financial hardship for your landlord, but you are also establishing a negative rental history for yourself, which could make it difficult for when you apply for future rentals.

Once you are ‘in arrears’ you will be sent correspondence from your property manager daily. These may include, but are not limited to, phone calls, text messages, and letters.

In accordance with the Residential Tenancies  Act 1997, if you allow your rent to reach 14 days in arrears, if you allow your rent to reach 14 days in arrears your property manager will serve you with a ‘notice to vacate’.


5. What if I can’t pay on time?

We all have times when we may face monetary constraint. However, if you know your rent is due and you know you’re not going to be able to pay it on time, please call, or email, your property manager, immediately. If you have a good history of paying on time, your property manager and landlord may show more understanding if you communicate your issue as soon as it arises. If your circumstances have changed i.e., you lost your job, got sick, separated etc., and this is going to affect your rental payments for a period of time, there may be some options to help, like a payment plan. The most important thing is that you keep communicating with your property manager, so they can provide assistance in the matter.


6. How often will you inspect my home?

In accordance with the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 it is part of our service to carry out regular inspections of the condition of the property. We will inspect your home three months after your lease begins, and then every six months. You will be notified of the inspection time, in writing, giving you at least one weeks’ notice. The purpose of the inspection is to ensure that you are caring for the property in a satisfactory manner, but to also check for any maintenance required.

If you are unable to be present, we will enter the premises with our management key. Should the property have an alarm, please contact our office with the alarm code or leave the alarm off at the inspection time. Likewise, if you have pets, please ensure they are secured at the time of inspection. We will also need access to the garage, so please ensure access is available.

It is your responsibility to ensure that the property is safe for entry for your property manager. Please be aware that your landlord is invited along to these inspections and may be in attendance on the day. If your landlord is not able to attend, your property manager may take photographs at the time of the inspection.


7. Can I get additional keys/garage remotes for the property?

In accordance with the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 you will be provided with at least one set of keys and remotes for the property, at the beginning of your lease. You are permitted to make copies of these keys at your own expense; however, you are expected to provide the additional copies back to Reliance Real Estate at the completion of your tenancy.

Should you want a master key, or remote, e.g. you live in apartment block, you will need to request this by emailing your property manager. You will be sent an invoice for payment.


8. Are my possessions covered by my landlord’s insurance?

When disaster strikes in any form, whether that’s a natural disaster, or home invasion, not having insurance can have catastrophic effects on your property, stress levels and bank account!

Each insurance policy is different, and you don’t want to pay for what you don’t need, so before you get quotes, undertake an audit of your possessions, giving them a replacement value. You will be surprised how things add up! Some coverage also includes accidental damage, temporary accommodation cover, replacement of locks, storm, and rainwater coverage. One of the biggest mistakes tenants can make is assuming that their private possessions are covered by the landlord’s insurance.


9. What do I do if I break or damage something at the property?

Please call, or email, your property manager immediately.  We understand that mistakes and accidents happen, and we do expect fair wear and tears, however it’s appreciated if you notify us.

The damage may be covered by the landlord’s insurance policy, which may mean you might only have to pay the excess amount. Should it not be covered by insurance, Reliance Real Estate works with a range of fantastic tradesmen, who are not only reliable, but provide great rates.


10. Can I get a pet?

Every property and landlord are different.  Some landlords are happy for pets to live at the property, as the tenant takes full responsibility for any damage, while other landlords are not.

If at the time of your original application you did not have any pets and are now hoping to get one, you must seek permission from your property manager prior to acquiring the pet; this should include the type, breed, age, sex, and size of the pet. If you are approved for a pet, your property manager will draw up an agreement, which you will be required to sign prior to bringing your pet home.

If you are not approved for a pet and obtain one at the property anyway, this will be in breach of your lease agreement and will have repercussions. It is important to note that various body corporations and properties do not allow pets.


11. What happens if the owner of the property I am renting decides to sell?

According to the Residential Tenancies Act 1997, the property owner has the right to sell the property at any time, but they cannot ask you to vacate it until your lease is finished. Just because the property is being sold does not necessarily mean that you will be asked to vacate the property at the completion of your lease.  Often rental properties will be purchased by investors, who wish to continue leasing the property, so you may be able to continue living at the property; the only thing that changes is the Rental Provider.

As per the legislation, the Rental Provider must notify you in writing, with intention to sell and must compensate you for any Open for Inspections attended at the property.

Under the Residential Tenancies Act 1997, if the landlord requires you to vacate the premises, upon sale, a formal Notice to Vacate, through VCAT, will be served, issuing you with not less than 60 days to vacate, providing the vacating date falls on, or after, your lease expiry date.


12. What happens if the owner of the property I am renting decides to move into it?

According to the Residential Tenancies Act 1997, the property owner has the right to move into the property, but they cannot ask you to vacate until your lease has expired.

Under the Residential Tenancies Act 1997, if the owner requires you to vacate to allow for one of their family members can move in, a formal Notice to Vacate, through VCAT, will be served, issuing you with not less than 60 days to vacate, providing the vacating date falls on, or after, your lease expiry date.


13. What happens if I lose my keys or lock them in the property?

If this occurs during business hours, you can come to our office and borrow our master keys. Please call our office prior to attending, to confirm that the master keys are in the office.  You will also need to provide us with ID and a $100 deposit. You must return the keys to our office within the same day, and your $100 deposit will then be returned to you.

If you are unable to come to our office yourself, and want to send a third party to pick up the keys, you need to provide us with written, or verbal consent, beforehand and your representative will need to provide ID.

If you need to borrow keys after hours, and an agent can provide you with access, there is a cost to agent involved to be paid to the agent, when access is given. If an agent is unable to provide access to the property, you must contact a locksmith at your own cost. If the locksmith needs to change the locks, under legislation, you will need to provide the office with a copy of all entry and exit door keys.

Our recommended Locksmith:  City West Locksmith (Joey) on 0414 930 586


14. What happens when my lease expires?

When your lease is nearing its end, we will contact you to ask if you would like to renew your lease. If you do wish to renew, we will confirm this with the Rental Provider and once all parties agree, we will prepare the new leases for you to sign. It is at this point you may be notified of a potential rent increase.

Download the ‘Notice to Vacate’ Form HERE

If you have decided to move on when your lease expires, you must give us a minimum of 28 days’ written notice, prior to the end of the lease date.


15. What if I need to move out before the end of my lease?

Sometimes things happen and a tenant needs to move out of a property, before their current lease has expired, i.e. a job overseas or interstate, go through a marriage breakdown, have serious health issues etc. This is known as a ‘Lease Break’. In accordance with the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 and your lease agreement’s special conditions, you are required to:

–    Give us written notice of your intention to break your lease (see link below).
–    Pay rent up until the lease ends or until the new tenant’s lease commences (whichever comes first), even if you have physically vacated the property prior to that date.
–    Pay a break lease fee. You will be invoiced for this amount and must pay the invoice amount immediately.
–    Notify us of a date you will be vacating the property so we can prepare it ready for re-leasing

If you know someone who wishes to lease the property, they are required to complete the application process as normal. You can discuss this with your property manager in more detail, however it is important that you understand there is no guarantee that this application will be approved.

Download the ‘Notice to Vacate – Lease Break’ form HERE


16. Do I need to pay my last month’s rent? Didn’t I pay a month in advance when I moved in?

You paid your first month’s rent when you signed your lease. As agreed in your lease agreement, you are required to pay your rent in advance each month.  The date your rent is due is the 1st day of the next rent cycle for that month.  You must pay rent up to and including your final vacating date.

For example, if your lease begun on the 14th of May, you will be required to pay by the 14th of every month ongoing.


17. When will I get my bond back and can I use it for my last rental payment?

You cannot use your bond for rent. Your bond is held in trust by Residential Tenancies Bond Authority Bond (RTBA) not by Reliance Real Estate.

After your final inspection, your property manager will have 10 business days to lodge your bond refund form or apply to VCAT. Once your final inspection is completed and all matters resolved, you will be asked to sign a ‘Bond Refund Form’ which will be submitted to RTBA who will refund your bond directly into your nominated bank account, this may take up to 72 hours.


18. What is a final inspection and how does it work?

Once you have given notice, your property manager will arrange a time to meet you at the property for your final inspection to compare the property condition to when your tenancy began.  We expect some fair wear and tear, however, will look for visible signs of damage and check that the property is cleaned to the standard expected in your lease agreement.

Your property manager will discuss with you any items requiring your additional attention.  At this time, you will also be asked to provide a receipt for carpet cleaning, or any other special requirements i.e. flee spraying (if you have a pet at the property) etc.

Download our final inspection check list HERE


19. What is a Condition Report and how does it relate to my tenancy?

Reliance Real Estate is required to complete a thorough inspection of the property prior to the beginning of your tenancy noting in detail the condition of the property including any damage cited and photos of the property and all items on the property. This condition report will in turn be used for your final inspection to ensure you have returned the property back to the landlord in its original condition.

As required by legislation, when you collect your keys, you will be sent an electronic copy of the report containing the condition report photos.

We recommend you go through the property before you move any personal belongings in. If you agree with our comments, you don’t need to add any additional comments.  If you notice something we haven’t mentioned or disagree with our comments, put your comments in the ‘Renter comments’ column of the relevant area and category.

If you fail to return the amended condition report to our office within the allocated time frame (5 business days) the original condition report will be declared as true and correct.


20. How does the application process work?

Once you have submitted your application and all supporting documents required, we will keep you updated via SMS/email as it progresses to each stage in the process. After we have done all the necessary checks, your application will be presented to the landlord for a final decision.


21. Why is my application not being processed?

As a rule, we will not begin processing your application until we have all the necessary documents provided.  If you submit your application and it is missing some information (i.e. one of the other applicants hasn’t submitted their application or needs to provide your pay slips etc.), we will send you an SMS/email ‘more info is required’. Please call our office asap to confirm when you will be providing us with the additional info.


22. How long does it take for you to tell me if my application has been successful or not?

Depending on the number of applications we receive for the property, we aim to give you a final decision within 2 – 5 days.  Waiting for additional information or references to get back to us is the main reason why processing your application may take longer.


23. How do I pay my bond and first month’s rent?

You must pay your first month’s rent and bond via bank deposit/direct transfer.


24. Who should I contact about renting one of your properties?

You can call our office during business hours for answers to any questions relating to any of the properties we have available for lease.

Alternatively, you can send an enquiry through the online advertisement of the property you are interested in.


25. Who should be contacted AFTER I’ve moved into a property?

On the day you come to our office to collect the keys.

After you move in, your property manager is your main point of contact for anything to do with your tenancy.  Unless the matter is urgent, the best form of contact is a direct email to your property manager.

If you do not have your property managers email address you can find this HERE