When renting a property it’s important to understand both your obligations as a tenant and what you can expect from the owner of the property.
A tenancy agreement, or lease, is an agreement where a landlord lets premises out for residential purposes to a tenant. Your legal rights and obligations as a tenant will depend upon the type of rental arrangement you’re in.
When applying for a rental property you will need to provide formal identification. These may include: driver’s licence, Medicare card or passport. Evidence of employment will also be required in the form of a contract from your employer or pay slips along with references to support your reliability as a tenant.
- read through and complete the rental application form
- make sure you list every person who will live at the property on the form
- list any pets you have (if they’re allowed)
- list your rental referees and their contact details
- provide copies of your proof of employment – payslips, work contract etc
- include character references (if required)
- ensure you have the required bond put aside
- sign your completed application form, include all required attachments and send it back to the agent or landlord.
If your application for a property is accepted you will be asked to sign a lease (also known as a residential tenancy agreement) before you can move in. A lease is a legal contract between tenants and landlords for which there is no cooling off period.
You should ask for a copy of the lease so you can read it thoroughly before you sign. Ask questions if there is anything you don’t understand.
Your lease agreement should outline:
- the amount of rent to be paid
- how the rent is to be paid
- the amount of bond required
- length and type of tenancy
- other conditions and rule
- any special terms that have been agreed to by both parties.
Types of Leases
Fixed term – this type of lease is usually for 6 or 12 months. Once the agreed term expires you may be offered a new fixed term lease or it may roll over to a periodic lease.
Periodic lease – when a fixed term lease ends you may roll over to a periodic lease, or ‘month by month’ lease. You might not be asked to sign a new lease however the terms and conditions of the original agreement remain.
You will be required to pay a bond before moving into a rental property. A bond is a monetary amount that acts as security for the landlord in case you fail to meet the terms of the lease agreement. If you vacate the property and leave behind damage or a mess or fail to pay your rent the landlord may claim some or all of the bond to cover their costs. The bond money is held in trust by the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority (RTBA).
A condition report is document that includes the general condition of the property, including fittings and fixtures and any existing damage at the time you move in. A landlord must complete this report and provide you with two signed copies. It is your responsibility to check each item on the condition report for accuracy and return one copy to your agent within three business days of moving in.
Your landlord is responsible for repairs to the property. Urgent repairs such as burst water service, blocked toilet, roof or gas leaks, electrical faults and storm damage must be attended to immediately. If the damage was caused by yourself then you may be liable for covering the cost of repairs. Non urgent repairs should be put in writing to your landlord or real estate agent. They then have 14 days to carry them out. For a full list of what constitutes urgent repairs please visit www.consumer.vic.gov.au/renting.
If you are renting a property through Noel Jones and have an urgent repair please contact your property manager.
The minimum amount of time required for giving notice that you will be vacating a property is usually 28 days, however under certain circumstances this can be 14 days. Please see www.consumer.vic.gov.au/renting for current laws about vacating laws. Your landlord must give you a ‘Notice to Vacate’ form in person or via registered post if they are ending the tenancy before the agreed time. The minimum notice period can vary depending on circumstances – check www.consumer.vic.gov.au/renting for full details.