Guide for First Time Renters

Renting for the first time can seem like a daunting process as there are a lot of things to consider and so many options available. When renting through Byron Bay Real Estate, our systems are designed to make finding a rental property as easy, convenient and as enjoyable as possible. As the areas most trusted property managers, we’re the first choice for many investors in the area giving tenants access to the pick of the rental market.

We have put together a short list of items to consider when you are renting for the first time that will help you get everything together and make the process as seamless as possible. This is useful for those who aren’t entirely sure where to start or are feeling overwhelmed by the process.


Before you start looking you should consider a few of your non-negotiable requirements. Having this list of non-negotiables will help you stay on track and make sure you don’t deter from what you really need. Here are some things you should be considering:

  • How many bedrooms do I require?
  • Is the property pet friendly?
  • Do I need parking spaces?
  • How many bathrooms do I require?
  • Is the property single story or are there flights of stairs?
  • How close is the property to public transport?
  • Is there a study?


A good rule of thumb is to not spend more than 30% of your gross income on rent. This is to ensure you not being placed under rental or housing stress. When renting for the first time, there are a lot of expenses to consider such as utilities, food, transport, entertainment, any debts and savings. If you have certain requirements that you are after, the 30% guide may not be for you. Alternatively, if you want to have a look at what the median weekly rent for new tenancies in your area, check out this tool from the Tenants Union of New South Wales to make comparisons.

Upfront expenses

Once you have figured out your budget and how much you are willing to spend on rent each week, it is essential that you have enough savings to cover the upfront expenses. This generally includes a payment for the bond (maximum of four weeks rent) and up to two weeks rent in advance.

Be aware of items that landlords and agents must not charge a tenant:

  • for the cost of preparing the tenancy agreement
  • to show them a property
  • more than two weeks rent in advance
  • more than four weeks rent as a rental bond
  • for keys or other opening devices
  • a bond to allow the tenant to keep a pet on the property.

Application Form

A good idea is to have digital copies saved of all of your documentation so you have everything ready to go at a moments notice. This is especially helpful to get your application submitted on the same day as your inspection. This can help you get in quickly and will make you look like a stronger applicant.

Here is a checklist of the documentation you would like to have ready to go:

  • Photo identitfication (Drivers License, Passport etc.)
  • Verification of employment and income (Payslips)
  • A recent utility or phone bill
  • Reference from your employer – These can also be great opportunities for property managers to get more of a character reference.
  • Personal references – this should not be from someone who is a relative. The person you have chosen should be able to speak about how you are as a person and how you present your home.

After this you should have a look for rentals in your chosen area and create a shortlist of all of the rentals that you would like to inspect. Write down all the inspection times and spend some time visiting the properties. Keep in mind that rentals often get snapped up quickly so to combat this you should get your application submitted as soon as possible and ensure all your references are aware they will be contacted.

For more information, Fair Trading NSW provides a compete list of items a tenant should know to understand their rights and responsibilities.

Check out our available rentals or contact us for any questions.

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