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December 06, 2019, 11:57:13 pm

Author Topic: A Tortoise's Guide to Moving Out and Independent Living  (Read 3322 times)  Share 

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A Tortoise's Guide to Moving Out and Independent Living
« on: January 08, 2018, 03:04:53 pm »

Hey, ATAR Notes!

As 2018 starts and the the start of university approaches, a number of students will be moving out of their home to live independently. Given that I moved of home quite a while ago, I've garnered a heap of experience with all things moving out and independent living, so I'm here to help you learn from my mistakes and help you adult well! Step one is not using 'adult' as a verb.

Part One: Preparation

It's no secret that moving out costs money. When leasing property, you'll need to have enough money for two things: a) your first month of rent and b) bond payment. This is certainly going to be in excess of two grand -- a fair bit of money for a person just exiting high school (or in some cases, still in high school). Without trying to sound like Captain Obvious, having a job is pretty much essential for this. I won't delve into detail on this, but you can find plenty of advice on getting a job on the Employment Advice thread. Now, the part I really want to mention is getting a bond loan from Centrelink, which is supremely helpful for a young person. A bond loan is when the government pays the bond for people who may need financial assistance -- for a single person, this is anyone who makes under $549 per week (more information on income limits can be found here). You can read more about the eligibility here, and find the application form here. There really is no shame using this scheme -- I used it for my first lease, and it was tremendously helpful!

In addition to getting a job, as a student it is possible you may be eligible for Youth Allowance, which is a scheme designed to help young students with money, given that studying full-time and working full-time aren't the most compatible of ideas, resulting in a reduced income. Again, there is no shame here -- the scheme is designed to help students.

Other than monetary responsibilities, you're going to be responsible for a bit of property -- you'll need to know how to take care of both it and yourself. This can include anything from knowing how to get specific stains out to knowing how to sew your own clothes. Don't worry if you don't know much of these things before you leave home, as you'll learn over time -- the important thing is that you know that you can find absolutely anything online.

Lastly, when moving into your new home, you'll be needing some items to live with. I've compiled a bit of a list to help with things that you need but may forget about:

Can opener (I used to use a knife, which is just a pain-in-the-ass)
Coat hangers
A rubbish bin (you don't want to just put it in plastic bags on the floor like in The Sims)
A desk and chair (you'll be studying, don't forget this!)
A spare light bulb (nothing like having the light cark it during a shower)
Toilet plunger

Part Two: Housemates

Odds are you'll be moving in with other people. It's cheaper and easier. You'll be wanting to find housemates that a) you get along with (obviously -- you don't want tension) and b) are responsible (both financially and with, well, not being an idiot). If you have any friends you have plans to move in with, bloody fantastic, you're already set (provided everyone upholds their share!). However, for the people who need to find strangers to share with, there are some handy ways to go about this. It's very important that your housemates pay their rent, as if they do not then you are not protected under the Residential Tenancies Act 1997.

A super handy website to use is FlatMates, which allows you to sort your preferences by, well, any way imaginable. Just search up the area you want and make sure to tick any filters (including 'student accomodation') and you'll be greeted by something like this:

In addition to this, UniMelb (soz, Monash peeps) published a super handy guide for this!

Part Three: Leasing

Before I start, I need to note something important. While your rent is listed at 'per week', you will actually be paying 'per month' in order to account for those pesky extra days (as there are more than 28 days in a month (nobody mention February please). You can find your monthly rent by multiplying your weekly rent by 52 then diving by 12. For example, if my weekly rent was listed at $320, I would actually be paying $16,640 per year, $1,387 per month, $693 per fortnight, and $347 per seven days.

Once you find a house (either through the flatmate system listed above or via a realestate website like realestate, domain, or rent), you'll be needing to supply some information:

Appropriate ID (this will vary from agency to agency, but generally includes primary ID (like a passport or birth certificate), a license/learner's, and a Medicare card. Student ID can be substituted in some cases)
Past rental history /; utilities (if you are a first time renter, make this clear in your application and this will not be necessary -- but be prepared to be fighting an uphill battle)
Identifying information (name, DOB, current address, email address, phone number, car rego if you have it -- stuff like this)
Employment history
Bank statements / Centrelink statements (to prove you have a source of income)
Personal references (for a young person, this can be a parent. If they are not willing or you don't have parents, there are case workers who can fill this role. I personally used Whitelion. These can also be past employers, close friends, or even school teachers -- I asked my Physics teacher for help with this with my last house, so it can be done haha)

When you sign a lease, you'll be signing a) your details, b) the house details (address), c) rent details (cost and length of time), and d) landlord details If any of these things are changed for whatever reason, there will be processes to deal with this -- it just can't be changed willy-nilly. There is almost always additional sections per the landlord's whim, such as agreeing to maintain gardens or not alter the house. Ensure you read all of this properly and only sign if you agree with all of it. Once signed, you will be provided with a copy of it within fourteen days -- be sure to keep this somewhere safe.

Once you move in, you'll be given a conditional report, which is essentially a list of all things wrong with the house -- such as scuffed paint or floor marks. Be sure to go through the entire house top-to-bottom and report any other problems you see in the form, otherwise any repairs done once leaving may come out of your bond. It's best to provide photographic evidence and specifics with your report.

Inspections of the house are expected. Please note that this cannot happen within the first month of moving in. Additionally, you will always be given a letter of notice at least 24 hours (but usually waaay more) before an inspection. If this does not occur, it is illegal for your landlord -- or any representative -- to enter the property without your permission. You can find a great website for tenant rights in Victoria at this website, or on the RentRight phone app.

With issues of repairs, your landlord is obligated to fix it (unless it's your fault, in which case prepare to dole out some dosh). If it is an urgent repair (such as a blocked toilet or anything that renders the house unsafe to live in) then your landlord has to fix it within 2-3 days of being notified. If it's a non-urgent repair, they have 14 days to repair it.

Lastly, with regards to late rent, if you suspect you may be late, notify your rental agency immediately and tell them -- they may allow an extension. If your rent is more than 14 days late, you can be sent a notice to vacate. This does not mean you must vacate, as it can be challenged. You cannot be forced out by anybody except the police. Obviously, try to avoid late rent :)

Part Four: Independent Living

Paying rent can be done in a few different ways.
a) cash (typically done by going into your real estate office. This takes more time than the other options, so isn't typical)
b) credit card (word of warning: credit cards are stupid. Don't get one)
c) direct debit (you legally have to be told if this is the required method of transfer before you sign a contract)

Personally, I find direct debit to be the easiest, as it's just a transfer from one bank account to another. Some banks (such as Commonwealth, using the BPAY portion on the Commonwealth phone app) even allow automatic transfers so you never have to worry about forgetting to pay. More information on BPAY can be found here.

With electricity, gas, and water, all real estate agencies will provide automatic transfer to you  If these are not installed, your landlord will pay for all installation. That's it -- it's very easy. If you have a discount with any utility providers, be sure to give it to your real estate agency when they transfer. I should note that discounts are extremely easy to get -- it's as simple as calling up and asking, which is a bit awkward, but worth if when you save 33% on electricity.

With internet, you need to find a service most appropriate to your needs and location. When calling to register, you will typically need a) proof of identity and b) bank details. If a telephone line is not installed, one will need to be. Your landlord is not necessarily under an obligation to pay for this -- this will have to be discussed between both parties on who has to pay. If you feel the decision was unfair, however, you can appeal to VCAT to decide.

Part Five: Questions

Any questions and answers in this thread will be posted here for accessibility. I'm more than happy to add any extra information that people may require -- this is my first mini-guide, and I'm not totally sure on what else needs to be added :)
« Last Edit: January 09, 2018, 12:44:07 am by Calebark »
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Re: A Tortoise's Guide to Moving Out and Independent Living
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2018, 05:01:13 pm »
Incredible and incredibly useful guide!! I'm not moving out in the immediate future but read this thirstily anyway :P
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Re: A Tortoise's Guide to Moving Out and Independent Living
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2018, 01:17:43 am »
I'm going to be living in Newcastle for six months while doing some industry training (look out for a new journal ;)) and I'm going to be signing a lease very soon.

This was an insanely good read for me. I'm the type to do a heap of research, and I still picked up probably a dozen golden nuggets of information I didn't know before I started reading.

Infinite thanks for such a useful guide my friend  ;D


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Re: A Tortoise's Guide to Moving Out and Independent Living
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2019, 08:55:23 pm »
Hey all! As offers have been made, I'm sure a lot of users are going to start thinking about moving out. Because of this, I'll just bump this so it's in the limelight again (despite it being hiding there in my signature) and is finally useful

Feel more than free to ask any question. I can't guarantee that myself or any other user will have the right answer, but at the very least, we'll be able to help with figuring it out or directing to resources

I'll also like to highlight this point K888 made in another post that I think is super valuable:

- Set up separate bank accounts (I have 3 - one for necessities like bills and groceries, one for things I want to buy for myself, and one for savings) and figure out what percentage of your income will go into each account
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