A residential tenancy agreement is a legally binding contract between the owner of a property (the “landlord”) and a person or company wishing to occupy the property (the “tenant”) under which the landlord grants to the tenant the right to occupy the property for use as a residence. The right of occupation does not have to be exclusive, which means that the tenant may have the right to share the property with others.

A residential tenancy agreement is for tenants renting houses, townhouses, units and similar properties. It can be used for a furnished property or unfurnished property.

A residential tenancy agreement cannot be prepared in relation to premises used to provide aged care, retirement villages, nursing homes, serviced apartments, holiday or caravan parks, hotels, motels, hostels or temporary accommodation.

At the commencement of a residential tenancy:

  • a residential tenancy agreement should be prepared;
  • the landlord must give the tenant a copy of the relevant renting guide for tenants that is generally available from Fair Trading or Consumer Affairs in the relevant State or Territory;
  • if the property is strata titled (e.g. a unit), the landlord must also give to the tenant a copy of the strata by-laws for the strata in which the property is located, which should be available from the strata manager;
  • the landlord and the tenant should each complete a condition report for the property and keep a copy for their records. A condition report is a record of the condition of the property at the commencement of the tenancy and may be used as evidence of the state of repair or general condition of the property at the commencement of the tenancy if there is later a dispute between the landlord and tenant; and
  • the tenant should pay rent in advance and a bond (if any) to the landlord.

At the end of the initial fixed term (e.g. 6 months or 12 months), the landlord and tenant may enter into a further agreement for a further fixed term; the tenancy may continue as a periodic agreement on the same terms and conditions as the existing agreement; or the tenancy may be terminated by either party.

LegalVision currently has a Residential Tenancy Agreement for New South Wales and Victoria, and a General Tenancy Agreement for Queensland. You should use the document which is relevant to your state.

Conclusion

Further information on the rights of landlords and tenants is generally available from Fair Trading or Consumer Affairs in the relevant State or Territory.

For more legal advice regarding your rights and obligations as tenant or landlord, contact LegalVision on 1300 544 755.

Lachlan McKnight

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