When you have just arrived in Australia and started to look for a rental accommodation, to understand what your monthly living expenses will be, you need to know what is included in the rent price. In different countries it works in different ways, so this is a legitimate question to ask – for example, in some countries the council rates are not included in the rent while in other countries they are, etc.
Here is how it works in Australia: the rent price advertised by the estate agents only includes the council rates, and in some cases the water bill. If you’re renting an apartment in a building and there is no separate water meter per apartment, then the landlord will pay the water bill, otherwise the tenant pays for the water.
However, there are parts of the water bill that only the landlord has to pay, not the tenant – I am talking about the amounts that are listed on the water bill under “service charges” and “other charges”. Service charges are the fees for accessing the water and the sewage systems and apply even if no one was using the water/sewage, a kind of flat fee. Other charges include drainage charge and Parks charge and are only paid by the property owner.
On top of the water bill, in addition to the rent, a tenant should expect to pay for the electricity, gas, phone, internet access, paid TV, renters insurance (if you choose to have it). There is also a one-off payment of the bond that roughly equals to monthly rent and payable before a tenant moves in (read more about it here).
If this is your first home in Australia and you don’t have any accounts opened with energy suppliers or phone companies, then you should also expect a set-up fee with every company where you first establish an account. Some phone companies will also charge you for connecting your land line and the same applies to the paid TV. If you do have accounts with energy, phone and internet companies, then another set of fees applies – relocation fees. There is no way you can avoid these fees, but it helps if you know in advance about them and can adjust your budget accordingly.
And finally some figures: (keep in mind that these are rough estimates that I’ve found in the Energy and Water Ombudsmen website)
- The average energy usage for 12 months is 6500 kilowatt hours and it costs around $1000 for the year.
- The average gas usage for 12 months is 60 gigajoules and it costs around $800 – $850 for the year
- The average water usage for 12 months should cost anything in the $500 – $1000 range.
- The cheapest phone line rental is $30 a months and that doesn’t include whatever the calls cost.
What else would you like to know about renting in Australia? Leave a comment and I will find out for you.