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Here are some tips to help you and your housemates live in harmonious bliss... well, we can't promise the bliss part but we can try and offer some advice to make your household more harmonious.
Anyone sharing space with another human being is sure to come into conflict at some point, but these are tips to try and get a smooth running household.

Respect
Having respect for your housemates, their privacy, space and belongings can go a long way to warding off any potential household conflicts.
Before doing something that's likely to affect your household, think about your actions from their perspective. They might not think that listening to loud music at all hours of the day or night while they are trying to study or bringing home a new pet is such a good idea. They might not like you borrowing their stuff or eating their food without permission. They might hate that your partner is freeloading off the household, practically living with you but not sharing the bills.
Show care when using your housemates' things and be honest and upfront about any breakages or damage to their stuff. Your housemates are more likely to be forgiving if you tell them straight away what's gone wrong than if they have to find out for themselves.
Communication and respect is key to successful share house living.

Communication
Avoid problems by communicating and solving them. Rather than complain, suggest a way to overcome the problem. Discuss issues when they arise. There is no point brooding over something that has annoyed you for weeks until you eventually explode. Some households have regular house meetings where everyone has a say.

Cleaning
Keeping the house clean is the most frequent source of household conflict. There's no easy way to avoid chores such as washing up, taking the bin out or cleaning the toilet.
In a large house, a roster may be the most organised way to make sure everyone does a fair share. Smaller households can often negotiate less formal agreements that are based on taking turns.
When a problem starts to develop, remember that a gentle reminder (and not a nag!) may be all that is needed. It is also important to live with others who share similar expectations about a domestic environment - a wise choice of housemates and an honest, respectful approach to communication can often prevent conflict and misunderstanding.

Personal Space
Give each other space to be alone from time to time. Don’t always invite friends over, go to their place sometimes. If you are planning an activity that needs privacy, organise it in advance.

Honesty
Be open and honest - f you break someone else’s stuff don’t hide the pieces, simply say “Where did you buy these?’ – you admit it and resolve it in one easy sentence.

Show Understanding
If you co-sharer is under a lot of pressure at work or studying for an exam, or going through an emotional rough patch, give them some space to deal with it.

Be Considerate
Be reliable, thoughtful and considerate; always do what you have promised to do. Treat others as you like to be treated. Do more than you are expected to, if everyone does that there can never be any argument.



Helpful tips for securing Private Rental

Where to find private rental properties
Without using real estate agencies, properties can also be found in:
  • Local papers (under the ‘share’ or ‘to let’ division of the Property section)
  • The Age newspaper (Wednesday and Saturday editions)
  • Noticeboards and shareboards at local TAFE and universities, community organisations, CHL, and Wesley Contact Centre, to name a few.
  • Internet websites such as www.realestate.com.au; www.flatemates.com.au; and www.ninemsn.com.au → follow ‘property’ links; are useful.
How to arrange an inspection
The simplest way to arrange an inspection is to contact the real estate agent or owner. Clients have often reported when phoning they are often advised to leave a message and someone will telephone them back to arrange an inspection time. When no one telephones them back, frustration can begin to set in.

What you need to remember is real estate agents deal with hundreds of people a week and therefore cannot often physically phone each and every person – what you need to ensure is that you persist! Rule of thumb, if no one has returned your call within 24 hours, it is appropriate to telephone the agent/ owners again as properties tend to go fast!


Attending Inspections
Real estate agents have given us the following ‘insider’ tips for our clients when attending inspections:
  • Never show to real estate agents at inspections that you have attended 20+ inspections prior. Despite best efforts from clients, real estate agents have reported that they can automatically tell whether a potential client has attended many inspections previously by the “unenthused expression” they give.
  • Any reference letters you possess from landlords (CHL, Eastcare, etc.) or support workers, make sure you have copies of them ready at inspections. Real estate agents have expressed that they tend to favour clients that attend inspections with organised documentation favourably.
  • Introduce yourself to the real estate agent, ensure you are polite and friendly, and ask questions about the property. Real estate agents see dozens and dozens of potential clients a day, let alone a week, so you want to make sure the agent remembers your name when sorting through dozens of applications.
  • First impressions do count, so make sure you are polite and friendly and wearing clean and neat clothing if possible.
  • If you have a listing with the National Tenancy Database (NTD) (i.e. previously evicted, rental arrears) but have not been blacklisted from the private rental market, real estate agents suggested it is better for these clients to be open and honest with an agent in the first place as to why there may be a record of you at the NTD, rather than to wait until the agent has raised a check on your rental history, discovered there is a record of you, and then assumes the worst (i.e. property damage).

When Inspecting properties
When you have a look at a property, it is useful to keep the following things in mind:
  • Is the carpet clean?
  • Do the windows and doors lock, open and shut?
  • Can you have pets (if desired)?
  • Is it near schools transport and shops?
  • Does the place have good heating? Gas is cheaper.
  • Is it safe and secure for children?

After Inspections/ Applying for properties
To increase your chance in securing private rental:
  • Hand deliver or fax the application along with the supporting documentation required AS SOON AS POSSIBLE (if possible, complete the application at the inspection therefore you need to make sure you have important phone numbers, dates, etc. written down with you). Do not send off applications in the post, as not only can they get lost and it takes too long, but it also sends a bad message to the real estate agent. If you have faxed off the application, it never hurts to phone the agency immediately afterwards to make sure they have your application.
  • 24 – 48 hours after handing in the application, phone the real estate agent managing the property directly to enquire about the progress of the applications. This is seen favourably by agents, and again, it ensures that the agent will remember your name amongst the dozens of other applicants applying.

Once successfully securing private rental
You may be eligible for various sources of financial support to ensure your move into private rental is as smooth as possible. It is best to speak with your support worker first, however the following are financial sources of support available to low income earners:

Office of Housing Bond Loan Scheme
A bond loan scheme is offered to low income earners and will assist you with all or part of the bond. Weekly rent cannot be more than 55% of income. For an appointment, contact DHS Office of Housing on 9843 6577 (Box Hill office) or 9871 5199 (Ringwood office).

When attending an appointment to obtain a bond loan, remember to bring with you:
  • Letter from agent or owner/ signed tenancy agreement (Letter must include: Names of all tenants, address of property and total amount of bond and rent, and rates notice if private landlord).
  • Two forms of id.
  • Proof of income.
  • If on a pension/ benefit, you must get a current income statement from Centrelink.
  • If your income varies, a 13 week wage statement is necessary.
  • Pay slips are not acceptable.
  • If sharing with someone, who is not applying for bond assistance, they must provide a witnessed Statutory Declaration stating what their share of the rent and bond is.

Ashwood Bulk Discounts
Ashwood Bulk are the only white good specialists in Victoria that specifically supply factory seconds, new, secondhand and fully reconditioned white goods to members of the public on welfare benefits. Ashwood Bulk allow low income earners to obtain necessary white good items needed for moving into private rental through Centrepay. Clients are able to pay a small deposit of $50 and then obtain items whilst paying them off fortnightly by direct debit.

To contact Ashwood Bulk Discounts telephone 9885 8829



Eastern Emergency Relief (EER)
Eastern Emergency Relief collects furniture, household goods and food for distribution to needy families recommended by welfare agencies for support. FAN clients escorted to EER by their Support Worker to obtain household items needed to successfully move into transitional accommodation, private rental and/or public housing.

Youth Friendly Real Estate Agencies
  • Appleby Real Estate
    20 Station Street, Bayswater
    Phone: 8727 9555
     
  • Bell Real Estate
    1161 Warburton Highway, Woori Yallock
    Phone: 5967 1277
     
  • Noble Knight Real Estate
    246 Main Street, Lilydale
    Phone: 9735 5677
     
  • Ray White Croydon
    57 Main Street, Croydon
    Phone: 9725 7444
     
  • Ray White Mitcham
    554 Whitehorse Road, Mitcham
    Phone: 9872 6022
     
  • Ray White Mooroolbark
    34 Brice Street, Mooroolbark
    Phone: 9727 4599
     
  • Rosier Real Estate
    2 Croydon Road, Croydon
    Phone: 9725 0000
     
  • Stockdale & Leggo Blackburn
    98 South Parade, Blackburn
    Phone: 9894 2044
     
  • Stockdale & Leggo
    159 Main Street, Croydon
    Phone: 9725 2777
     
  • Stockdale & Leggo
    281 Main Street, Lilydale
    Phone: 9735 3999
     
  • The Professionals – Andrew McMath Real Estate
    2460 Warburton Highway, Yarra Junction
    Phone: 5967 2688
     
  • The Professionals – Methven Real Estate
    46 – 48 Brice Avenue, Mooroolbark
    Phone: 9726 8888
     
  • Treeby Real Estate
    265 Maroondah Highway, Ringwood
    Phone: 9870 6000

Download the Helpful Tips For Finding, Securing & Maintaining Private Rental.

 

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