Renter’s rights and obligations

By You and Money

Renting can be a great lifestyle choice if you’re not ready to buy your own place or if you have other priorities. But if you choose to rent, you need to be aware of your rights and obligations.

Renter’s rights

Before you move into your rental property, you (and your housemates) will need to sign a lease (or tenancy agreement). This is a legal document between you and your landlord which covers, among other things:

  • whether you will pay your rent weekly, fortnightly or monthly
  • the due date for your rental payments
  • the amount of bond you need to pay
  • what you can and can’t do in relation to the property, for example, keeping pets.

Make sure you fully understand everything in the lease before you sign it.

You should expect that the property will be maintained and that the landlord or agent will arrange to have any necessary repairs made within a reasonable amount of time.

Renter’s obligations

As a renter, your responsibility is to pay your rent on time. You’ll need to keep the property in good condition and pay for any damage that occurs while you are living there.

You also need to be aware that if you break your lease you may be liable to pay the rent until another tenant is found, or until the lease period expires.

Rental bond

A rental bond is an amount that you pay so that the landlord can cover costs if you damage the property or if you don’t pay your rent. It’s usually equal to about four weeks of rental payments. The bond is lodged with the government department responsible for fair trading in your state. Once you leave the property, and if you’ve met all the conditions of your lease, this money should be returned to you.

Difficulties with a landlord/agent

If you have any issues with your landlord/agent and they can’t be resolved through correspondence or discussions, you can apply to the Tenancy Tribunal in your state for a solution. Remember that, even if you are having problems, you must continue to pay your rent on time.

Useful links for renters: and Sydney)

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