Monday, December 8, 2008

A Short History

The first month I was here, the company paid for an extended stay hotel room while I looked for a place to rent, or as they say let. And from most of the places I looked at, toilet was appropriate all right. In the end, I was able to find the flat that was the least expensive ($175/week) and the cleanest of anything I'd seen before. It is so different renting here than at home, I began to write a letter to the HR woman explaining that maybe a little help, especially for foreigners, might be beneficial. The HR woman is extremely nice, don't get me wrong. It's just that maybe a little more assistance in getting to understand the native ways would help. I hope this isn't too boring:


To open an account you will most likely need all documentation to indicate who you are; passport, driver’s license or other picture ID. In addition, if you are not a citizen, you will need to give them a copy of your employment contract and the front page of your visa or other information showing you are legally employed in Australia.

Transfer of money out of country is difficult. Most that I’ve contacted require a $27 fee per transfer while others simply refuse to do so.

You must open a bank account prior to the first pay period ending weekly on Wednesday. Pay is automatically deposited into the account you’ve set up with a one week delay.

Apartment Hunting
Most real estate agencies are opened during the week with some of them open half days on Saturday. Most are closed on Sunday.

It is best to begin your search immediately! The best on line resources are:

These sites also have notices to share apartments and houses.

Or you can stop by many of the several offices located around the CBD. Usually on Friday, they’ll have a separate list of available rentals but typically, these are listed on line as well.

For each application to let an apartment, you must provide myriad of documents:
ID can include; driver’s license, Medicare Card, Birth Certificate/Proof of Age Card, Passport, Current Credit or Debit Card with picture. 2 required.
Rental Receipts if currently renting; Rental Ledger from landlord or agent
Copy of the front page of current Residential Tenancy Agreement (TCA)
Proof on Income; 3 pay slips, Centre Link Statement, Bank Statement and Employment Contract. 2 required.
Confirmation of current address: Phone/Mobile, Electricity, Gas or Credit Card Statement with address. 2 required.
Homeowner: Council rates, Water rates or if selling, Selling Agent’s Details.

This is one of the systems that will rate you, another relies on a point system where you must score at least 100 in order to be considered.

This evaluation process can take up to a week although some claim 24 – 48 hours. Since an application with all the above supporting documentation must be handed in for each rental you’re considering, I would recommend you prepare several packets ahead of time that you can attach to each application form. You can not be pre-approved by a major real estate firm.

There is not a standard application form. Each Real Estate company has their own so the common information can’t be filled out ahead of time unless you obtain an application first (some can be obtained on line) and fill it out in advance leaving blank only the address and weekly rental rate or any other information specific to the property.

In order to view a prospective rental property, you must contact the agent to see if there is a scheduled ‘open for inspection’ time arranged. If not, the agent may offer a time to meet you at the unit you’re interested in viewing. Typically, they’ll want to make the trip for several potential renters, not just one.

Once accepted, you must pay a bond that is equivalent to 4 weeks rent plus 2 weeks in advance. The real estate agent typically accepts payments and no personal cheques.

I arrived mid-October and it seems that quite a few, inexpensive places became available near the beginning of November as students left the University of Wollongong for the summer. These were mostly located in North Wollongong, Wollongong West, Gwynneville, Keiraville and Fairy Meadows but certainly surrounding these areas as well.
This is a far as I got in my version of venting. As I mentioned earlier, even renting a damned DVD is an exercise in documentation. Are these troubled times similar to post war Germany or post 9/11 Amerika? Anyway, I've been out of the market doing these tasks so maybe these processes (upon processes) have been in place for a long time and as my Dad would say, "You sure have to go through a lot of crap to do anything anymore!" Now, I know the feeling. It's like the government just can't seem to regulate enough. Even the City of Seattle as a reward for having the highest percentage of people volunteering to recycle, they decided it was best to penalize those who don't and those who recycle improperly. What a system!
Keep the faith, a change is coming.

No comments: