For lots of young people looking for more independence ‘moving out’ and away from parents seems a good idea, but if you are a ‘first-time renter’ there are a few things you should know so the experience doesn’t become a nightmare.

Can you afford it?

Renting a house or unit is expensive. Before you think of moving out do a budget on your income and expenses. You will in most cases be asked to pay two weeks rent in advance and a bond (usually four weeks rent) as a security deposit.

There are costs associated with connecting the electricity and telephone. Most of these utilities require an initial deposit or a connection fee. The other big expense is for furniture, household goods, electrical and electronic equipment. Then you have to add your living expenses such as food, phone, entertainment, clothes, fuel etc, AND don’t forget if you have a credit card, you need to keep up these regular payments.
Are you eligible for rent assistance? Check with your local Centrelink office.

Sharing

Probably you will want to share with other young people to save money but first you need to find a place. Check out real estate agents or the rental section in the local paper.

Who do you share with?

This is best done before you move into a place so that you can choose the people you think you can live with, and you can all agree on the place to rent and the house rules. When you are ready to join the others make sure you agree on how the household costs will be shared, who is responsible for paying the bills and the consequences of not keeping up the rental payments. Make sure the other people have regular incomes because at any time during the tenancy, if they can’t pay their share of the rent, then it is up to the other people to make up the difference, as the rent is due payable by the collective tenants, irrespective of how many people are on the lease.