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Moving In, Tenancy Agreements and Entry Costs

 

Residential tenancy agreements (leases)

 

 A tenancy agreement:

 

  • Is an agreement between an owner and a tenant to rent a property.
  • Can be an oral agreement or it can be in writing. If it is in writing, the owner must provide a copy of the agreement to the tenant within 14 days of the agreement taking effect.

 

 

What is the difference between a fixed term agreement and a no fixed term agreement?

 

 

A fixed term lease agreement:  

 

  • A fixed term residential tenancy agreement has an expiry date.
  • It must run for at least four (4) weeks.
  • The property owner/agent cannot break the lease early unless the tenant has broken a condition of the agreement. Information on an ending a fixed term agreement is available at http://www.consumer.tas.gov.au/renting/ending_lease_early.

 

 

A no-fixed term tenancy agreement:

 

 

 

Certain rules that apply to tenancy agreements:

 

  • If an agreement includes a condition that does contradict what the Residential Tenancy Act 1997 says, the condition in the agreement is not valid.

 

 

Sub-letting

 

  • One tenant (the head tenant) rents the property and has a residential tenancy agreement with the property owner.
  • The head tenant sub-lets to the other tenant/s.
  • The head tenant:
    •  must occupy the premises
    •  is responsible to the owner for any damage
    •  is responsible for the rental bond and the rent for the property.
  • If the head tenant is the employer of the sub-tenant, there is no requirement for the head tenant to occupy the premises.
  • A tenant cannot sub-let without the owner's permission.
  • The property owner cannot reasonably withhold permission.
  • The Residential Tenancy Act 1997 does not apply to an agreement between a head tenant and sub-tenant/s.

 

 

Sharehouses (co-tenants)

 

 

  • You are a co-tenant if two or more tenants are renting the property and all names appear on the tenancy agreement.
  • Only one bond is payable for the property.
  • Each tenant should specify on the Bond Lodgement form how much they have contributed to the bond.
  • If a tenant leaves a share house they should contact the owner to have their name removed from the tenancy agreement.
  • New tenants should contact the owner to have their names added to the agreement.
  • The bond, which is lodged with the Rental Deposit Authority, is only paid out at the end of the tenancy.  The new tenant will need to pay any bond money to the tenant who is leaving. The vacating tenant must sign a Tenant Transfer form so that their portion of the bond can be transferred into the new tenant's name.  
  • The new tenant and the existing tenant must complete a Tenant Transfer form [pdf/104kb/1 page] and
    • Lodge the form at Service Tasmania; or
    • Post the form to the Rental Deposit Authority, GPO Box 1244, Hobart TAS 7001.
  • More information on changing tenants is available at http://www.consumer.tas.gov.au/renting/joining_leaving_lease.

 

 

Upfront costs (what the owner can and can't charge)

 

What can be charged:

 

  • A rental bond (security deposit)
    • A bond cannot be more than four (4) weeks rent
  • Rent in advance
    • The first payment is usually two (2) weeks if the rent is paid fortnightly
  • Holding fee
    • This is to hold the vacant property until the tenant can move in. This fee is usually not refundable.
  • A water consumption charge if:
    • The property has a water meter to calculate the amount of water used; and
    • The lease agreement states that the water charges will be passed onto the tenant.

 

 

What can't be charged:

 

  • Pet bond
  • An application fee to rent the property
  • A property finding fee
  • A fee for providing keys to inspect a property
  • A fee for giving details on properties available to rent
  • A fee for placing a potential tenant on a waiting list.

 

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