Renting in Melbourne in 2023: A guide from Rent.com.au

Ready to make Melbourne your new home? From its cool culture to stunning nature, this city has it all. But if you’re new to the rental scene, don’t worry! We’ve got you covered with all the tips and tricks on finding, applying and securing the perfect Melbourne rental property.

So what’s the deal with renting a place?

1. Find a property to rent in Melbourne.

Before you dive too deep into the waters of rental bonds, lease agreements and tenant rights, you need to find a rental! In Melbourne, you’ll mostly work with real estate agents who act on behalf of the rental provider (landlord) or property owner, but privately managed properties are also available.

The first step is determining your budget. Understanding your budget will help you decide whether to live alone or with a housemate. It’s worth checking the rental market to gauge whether *now* is a good time to move.

Read more: The 30% rule: How much can I afford to spend on rent?

Once you have an idea of your future living situation, it’s time to start your search for Melbourne rentals! One great place to look is Rent.com.au. All you need to do is start your search for your preferred suburbs and criteria (budget, bedrooms, and pets allowed), and we’ll show you all the available homes for rent in your suburb that fit your needs. It’s that easy. 

2. Send off an enquiry

Found a place that catches your eye? That’s great. Now’s the time to take a look in person. We can’t stress enough how crucial it is you see the property in person and not just rely on pictures and videos. Some rental providers and agents may only accept applications from people who’ve seen the home in person. Here are the questions you should ask at a rental viewing.

But don’t stress if you can’t make the inspection yourself – you can always send a representative to check it out. Just inform the agent and ask your representative to bring ID, just in case.

The rental viewing is your best opportunity to check that the home is in good condition. It’s worth the extra effort to ensure you’re happy with the rental property before you sign the lease and move in.

3. Send off your rental application

From here, the next step is to apply. This is your moment to tell the agent/rental provider about yourself. You’ll fill in your details, including where you’ve lived and worked in the past and your current income. It’s worth remembering that Melbourne’s rental market is very competitive right now, so there’s a high chance other renters will be trying to snag the same property as you. For that reason, it’s crucial to make sure your application is convincing and complete.

Here’s a tip – our blog has some helpful guides on how to fill out your Renter Resume, who to put down as your references, and what documents to attach. We also have a guide on how long it typically takes for rental applications to be approved.

One more pro tip – because Melbourne’s rental market moves quickly, you need to act fast. Bring a copy of your rental application to the inspection, so you can submit it on the spot if you fall in love with the property. It could make all the difference!

4. Sign your lease agreement

If you’ve made it this far, the next step in the rental process is signing the lease agreement. This is a big moment, as it means the rental provider/agent is happy with your application and wants to move forward with you as their tenant.

The lease agreement is the contract that lays out all the details of your rental. It will include important information like the length of your tenancy, how much your rent will be, and any conditions or rules regarding things like pets or noise. It’s super important to read through the lease carefully and ensure you understand everything before signing. If you need clarification or have questions about anything, feel free to bring it up with the agent.

Another thing to remember is that the lease agreement is effective immediately, so make sure you’re ready to move in and start paying rent as soon as you sign. And, if there were any issues with the house that you noticed during the inspection, they should be recorded on your Condition Report, so you’re not held responsible for them later on.

5. Connect your power and gas

Once you’ve signed the lease, it’s all official – congrats! Before you move in, it’s important to connect your utilities like electricity and gas. Generally, you’ll be responsible for these accounts, but double-check your lease agreement to see what’s included.

Don’t worry. Connecting your power and gas is a breeze with Rent.com.au. By joining our partner Origin, you’ll receive a $100 gift card to be used at 80+ in-store and online retailers. All you have to do is visit RentConnect, enter your name, email, and rental address, and select an Origin plan that works for you. It’s that simple! So, go ahead and get connected, and enjoy your new home.

6. Pay the rental bond

In almost all cases, your rental property will have a rental bond attached that you’ll need to pay before you get the keys. The bond money covers any costs that may arise during your tenancy, such as damages or unpaid rent. In Victoria, the bond you’ll need to pay can’t be more than one month’s rent for properties with a rent of $900 per week or less. Read the latest at Consumers Affairs Victoria.

If all goes well during your rental period, your bond will be returned to you when you move out. Sometimes it can be challenging to come up with the bond money, but don’t worry. RentBond is a service that can help you borrow the money you need for your bond and any other moving costs like removalists or cleaning.

Applying online is easy, and you can have the funds in your account the next day. Plus, it’s free to use if you repay within 21 days. Check out RentBond for more information.

7. Fill out your Condition Report

Victoria calls them ‘condition reports,’  but they’re also commonly known as Property Condition Reports or PCRs. Your rental provider or agent will give you one of these reports when you sign the lease.

The report’s purpose is to document any dirty, damaged, or non-working items you spot in the property, including the fixtures inside and outside. All rental properties are required to have one of these reports.

Your rental provider or agent will be responsible for preparing this document, and they will need to sign it and give you a copy before moving in. Remember that this report can be used as evidence of any disputes about bond claims or who should pay for cleaning or repairs. So make sure you go through it thoroughly before you sign it. Consumer Affairs VIC has a great guide on condition reports – check it out here.

8. What’s included with my rental property?

When it comes to rentals, most will come unfurnished, but some might be fully or partially furnished. But regardless of whether it’s furnished or not, your rental property should have some basic features like:

  • Curtains or blinds
  • Heating
  • Hot water
  • Kitchen cupboard
  • Light fixtures
  • Stove and oven

Some properties might have extra perks, like air conditioning or built-in wardrobes. It’s always worth checking the property listing to see what comes included. Your water bill might be covered if you’re renting through a strata scheme – but double-check your lease agreement to see what applies.

What documents do you need to rent in Melbourne?

In Melbourne, like most of Australia, the rental application process usually involves a point system. To be considered, you’ll need 100 points. You can earn a big chunk of these points (around half) by presenting a photo ID, like your driver’s licence or passport. Other documents that can earn you points can include:

  • Current vehicle registration
  • Utility bills with current address
  • Bank statement
  • Centrelink statement
  • Birth certificate
  • Rent receipts
  • Medicare card

Don’t forget to include the personal and professional references requested on the application. Here’s our guide to rental references.

What’s the average rent in Melbourne?

Rent.com.au data from May 2023 showed the average rent for a Melbourne apartment as $495 a week, while houses averaged $510 in rent. The average cost of a room in Melbourne was $207/week. 

Where can I go for help while renting in Melbourne?

Liked learning about how to rent a house in Melbourne?

Looking for more helpful tips and advice on renting, pets, money and more? We’ve got a great collection of articles on our blog that can help you.

If you’re searching for available rentals in Melbourne, we’ve got you covered there too! Look at our rental listings and find your next home in Melbourne and the surrounding suburbs with Rent.com.au.

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