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What I wish the previous tenants told me before I moved in

Since moving back to Sydney two years ago, I’ve moved three times with my partner, and in that time there are a few things we wished previous tenants could have told us before we chose our rentals.

I like to think of it as crowdsourcing info, if you will, because as a tenant you have a measly 15-minute window to figure out if it’s the place you want to live in for the next six to 12 months among a sea of other properties that you are racing around the city to get to on the same day.

There’s only so much you can assess in that short-time span and it’s usually the plainly obvious — trying your best to measure up if the place is big enough to fit in your furniture from the last rental and whether the property’s condition is up to scratch to live in, because up until recently minimum standards in rentals were not a thing.

A rental review would go some way in helping pick up the inconspicuous problems.

In our first rental, we moved into a new build and, as you’d expect, everything was brand spanking new. It also had lots of extras included from a dryer to a dishwasher to ducted airconditioning, so we couldn’t really fault anything at first sight.

It wasn’t until we moved in that the shine wore off really quickly. While our apartment was finished, the thousands of others in neighbouring blocks weren’t and we were basically living on a construction site for six days of the week. Constant noise and dust was part and parcel of our six-month lease.

It’s easy to pick up the obvious during rental inspections but there’s plenty you discover only after you move in. Photo: Paul Rovere

New builds are also notorious for squishing a lot into not a lot of space. They’re often described as shoebox apartments but we preferred to describe it as more of a dungeon with only one opening in the entire apartment, which looked onto hundreds of neighbouring balconies.

The lack of windows in the kitchen, bathroom and laundry dimmed our spirits and it was only when we moved into our next two rentals did we realise the importance of direct sunlight and a natural breeze.

Which brings me to our second rental. It was by far the best we’ve ever had but hindsight is 20/20, right? It was a huge upgrade from our first in every way.

We were on the top floor of a red double-brick block of nine apartments and it felt like we were sitting among all the surrounding gorgeous gum trees.

We had a window in every single room — a bizarre luxury after our first place — meaning we could heat and cool down the apartment without the need for aircon for almost the entirety of summer because of the amazing cross-ventilation.

I could go on, but there were a few things we would have appreciated knowing even in this place. Parking was an absolute nightmare both in our garage and on the street, something that hadn’t crossed our mind until moving day.

We also quickly found out we had rowdy, chain-smoking neighbours, whose balcony was adjacent to ours with a nice, clear view into our home and who had a penchant for partying throughout the week. But I guess you can’t have everything.

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Most size up a rental but it’s the inconspicuous problems like noise or water pressure that are hard to pick up during inspections. Photo: Ben Rushton

Our third rental has also had its fair share of surprises. The first and most noticeable issue is the outrageously loud traffic, which dies down considerably on a weekend – incidentally, when you normally check out a rental. You can’t hear over your Netflix at nighttime and the noise causes a murmuring through the windows in what should be the dead of night.

The other peculiar thing about this rental is the weak water pressure, which doesn’t allow two taps to run at once because it turns into little more than a trickle. It has left us coordinating when we take showers and do the laundry or washing up in the kitchen.

Funnily enough, we did remember to test the kitchen tap on inspection day and thought it ran well enough. But we didn’t get to running two taps from two different rooms at once because the apartment was packed with other prospective tenants and we were in a rush to get to our umpteenth back-to-back inspection of that day.

But I’m sure the previous tenants would have experienced the same water pressure issue. I wish they’d been able to tell us and I plan to tell whoever succeeds us in living at our current place.

This article was first published in www.domain.com.au. Here is the link to the original article.

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