We did some research into the biggest frustrations experienced by renters – and the results may strike a familiar nerve with those who are renting while saving for their own home. Not surprisingly, not being able to make changes to the house (such as painting walls or hanging pictures) topped the list. The number two gripe was the fact that renters knew they would have to move house again soon, with the next biggest annoyances being not being allowed pets and having landlords from hell.
These frustrations highlight why many young South Australians dream of owning their own home.
But while you’re saving up to buy your own house, you should enjoy some of the perks of renting. Take advantage of the fact that someone will fix your running toilet and that your parents will probably choose to stay in a hotel when they visit.
Here are some tips to make the most of your rental situation before you get into your own home.
1 Choose your housemates wisely
This is a biggie, particularly if you’re short on space. Your housemate doesn’t need to be a good friend, but make sure they’re like-minded about the important housey-stuff, such as sharing communal household goods, splitting the rent based on the size of respective bedrooms, bill sharing, and sharing housework. While it can be annoying having a housemate (food stealing, party-throwing, mess-making, annoying boyfriend, etc.), having a housemate to share your experiences with can be really fun.
2. Make sure you set up direct debits or payments properly
Get your landlord on side and pay your rent on time. Setting up a direct debit will mean it’s one less thing to remember, will mean you’re never late on making payments and keep your landlord off your back. Also, it’s great for your budgeting skills and good practice for when you have mortgage repayments.
3. Make it a home
You may not own the property, but it’s your home for now. Make it your own personal space that you feel good about living in. Accessorise with throws, pillows, rugs and accents that reflect your style. Don’t be shy about hanging art either –you can use adhesive tabs or just lean your artwork on mantles and shelves. Pot plants are a great way to liven up your inside spaces as well. And, all of these things can come right along with you when you move into your own home.
4. Your mum was right – clean house, clean mind
Again, just because you don’t own the house, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t feel good about living there. Having a clean and organised home is the best way to feel good about your house. Add storage where needed (a visit to Ikea should sort you out) so you can remove clutter from sight. Distribute cleaning chores with housemates and make sure you spend an hour a week staying on top of it – you’ll feel way better about having friends over for dinner. And a hot tip for clean freaks is to line your cabinets with paper or plastic – not only will it hide old and grubby shelves to make your kitchen look clean, but will protect your glassware and crockery.
5. Your landlord is not a mind reader
How is your landlord supposed to know that something’s broken if you don’t tell them? Let them know when something is broken or if you’re having difficulties with the property (anything to do with the structure of the building, or anything that contributes to making the house ‘habitable’) . That is one of the privileges of renting, so take advantage. Don’t be shy about it – a good landlord wants to protect their own investment by maintaining the property, so they’ll appreciate you letting them know.
6. Try and hold onto your deposit
Do what you can to keep your deposit when you leave to move into your own home. Your landlord needs to prove every cost of a deduction. If you’re feeling like they are being a tad sneaky, ask for receipts or quotes for the costs required to undo whatever damage you’ve done to the property, or you can find your own suppliers to quote for you.
7. Know your rights
You have rights as a renter! The information on the Office of Consumer and Business Affairs website outlines tenants’ rights and responsibilities in relation to the Residential Tenancies Act 1995 and Regulations and the Residential Parks Act 2007.You can also check out the renting and letting page on the SA Government website
to find out more about your rights as a renter, as well as heaps of other useful information.