The easiest way to rent your first home

by Chris Lang on September 21, 2010

First rental house Almost always finding your first rental house is the hardest. Whether you are moving out of your parents’ place or have just arrived in Australia from overseas, the absence of rental history makes things tougher.

Recently I’ve had a situation on my hands that helped me find a solution to this problem.

A close relative of mine was granted a permanent residency visa and was arriving with his family in Australia (Victoria). He asked me if I could help them rent a house, and I said “Of course, no problem!”.

But then, once I began ringing real estate agents one after another I quickly found out that they weren’t keen on dealing with a person who is still overseas, doesn’t have any referees in Australia, doesn’t have a bank account in Australia and can’t even sign the lease contract in person. If any of you ever had a friend who needed a house in Australia and whom you were trying to help in that respect, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Of course that family could have stayed with us or go to a hotel, but these living arrangements are far from ideal. Staying in a hotel for as long as it takes to find a rental would be expensive and inconvenient – especially when little kids are involved. Not everyone likes staying at someone else’s house for an unknown period of time, and not all houses have enough room to accommodate 2 families without inconveniencing both of them.

Once we understood that renting a house in someone else’s name is close to impossible, a real estate agent we got to know in the process suggested the perfect solution. She said that the right thing to do is for me to become a guarantor for my relative. I am sure this makes very little sense now, but in a second I will explain what becoming a guarantor means and what needs to be done.

When you become someone else’s guarantor it means that your name will go on the lease agreement as if you were renting the house together. Even though you won’t be required to actually move in, in this way you will be liable for the rent payments just like the person whose payments you are guaranteeing. This satisfies the real estate agents because they have a backup source for rent recovery in case things go wrong, and because they can check your (the guarantor’s) rental history, income and referees.

The way to achieve this sort of lease agreement is to apply using 2 tenancy application forms. One form needs to be filled for the guarantor and the other – for the person whose rental payments are being guaranteed. You will need a photocopy of their passport, drivers license and visa, to attach to the application form, and you will need another application form and all the documents required by the real estate agent for yourself (including proof of income, references from your own landlord, etc).

In addition you should include a cover letter explaining that you are applying as a guarantor and would like to handle everything on behalf of your relatives/ friends, including lodging a bond and paying the rent in advance, so that the agent knows you are their local contact. This is required because normally once your application has been approved, the bond must be paid within 24 hours. Once the period of the fixed contract is over (normally within 6-12 months), your name can be safely removed from the lease agreement and, provided that your friends / relatives were paying rent on time, they will have a good rental history of their own.

For people who are moving out of their parents’ house the procedure is very similar, except that they can handle everything themselves, no need for a middleman. If the parents agree to act as their guarantors, it should do the trick just as well. In the same way 2 application forms are submitted and after the lease agreement ends in 6-12 months, the parent’s name can be removed from it.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Rob September 25, 2010 at 11:14 pm

I always go with my gut on tenants as some can have fake references.

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Matthew Beale October 19, 2010 at 11:37 pm

Awesome guys..!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks for the info homeiown.com ..!!!!!

After reading that. My parents are more confident now and more prepared to help..!!!! Yeah..!!!!

Now to speak to rental agent.?

Thanks again.,

Mattie

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Daniel February 14, 2012 at 10:16 am

Thanks that really helped three of us just all moved out of home and having been finding it hard to find somewhere to rent. Thanks.

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Chris February 14, 2012 at 11:08 am

That’s awesome Daniel, I’m glad things worked out for you!

Cheers,
Chris.

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