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Types of Tenancy agreements

Types of general tenancy agreements
An agreement can be:

  • a fixed term agreement, which means an agreement for a set period, with an identified end date, or
  • a periodic agreement, which means an agreement which has no set end date and which operates on, for example, a fortnight to fortnight basis.

Holding deposits and tenancy agreements
Prospective tenants may be asked for a deposit to place a hold on premises they wish to rent. A copy of the proposed General tenancy agreement must be given to prospective tenants before they pay the holding deposit and a holding deposit can only be taken from one prospective tenant for each property. 

About the General Tenancy Agreement (Form 18a)

Under the Act, tenancy agreements must be in writing. They must:

  • be written clearly
  • contain all standard terms and any special terms (which must comply with the Act)
  • give the lessor’s/agent’s name, address and phone number
  • give the tenant’s name and phone number
  • give the name of any person (an agent), the lessor authorises to stand in their place in agreed situations. The lessor must give the tenant written notice of any changes within 14 days
  • say how much rent is to be paid and how and when it is to be paid
  • state the ending date for fixed term agreements, and
  • be signed by all parties.

Lessor/agents may also identify a nominated repairer in the tenancy agreement to act on their behalf if emergency repairs are required.

Lessor/agent responsibilities when agreements are signed
The lessors/agent is responsible for:

  • meeting all the costs of preparing the tenancy agreement
  • ensuring the correct form is used and completed
  • providing a copy of the proposed agreement along with any relevant body corporate rules or bylaws to the tenant before they sign it. 
  • Other paperwork when agreements are signedOnce the tenant signs the agreement, they must return it to the lessor/agent within five days. The lessor/agent then has 14 days to give a copy of the signed agreement to the tenant
  • ensuring that, when an agreement is signed, there are no legal problems that would prevent the tenant from living in the premises for the length of the tenancy, and
  • ensuring the premises are in a good state of repair and ready for the tenant to move into on the agreed date.

The lessor/agent must also provide the tenant with:

  • a copy of Pocket guide for tenants - houses and units (Form 17a)
  • a copy of any relevant bylaws, and
  • a signed Entry condition report (Form 1a) for the premises.

The tenant then has three days to sign the Entry condition report and note any disagreements on the report. The tenant should return the signed Entry condition report to the lessor/agent who must then give a copy of the finalised report back to the tenant. The lessor/agent must keep a copy until at least one year after the tenancy ends.

The lessor/agent must complete and sign a Bond lodgement (Form 2)if a rental bond is charged for the tenancy, then lodge it and any bond money taken with the RTA within 10 days.

Lessor/agents who fail to provide their tenants with copies of the required paperwork face penalties underthe Act, as do tenants who fail to complete and return an Entry condition report.

Breaching the terms of a tenancy agreement
If either party to the agreement doesn’t act in accordance with the terms of the agreement, or the Act, it may be considered a breach. The Act outlines processes to follow when a breach has occurred, including possible ending of the agreement. 

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