Terminology and General Information
Common Accommodation Abbreviations
|Abbreviation||Description or Meaning|
|biw||Built in Wardrobes|
|cls||Close - example "cls trans" means close to transport|
|exp||expenses - these can include electricity or Internet|
|f/b||Full Board - all meals provided|
|non smk||Non Smoking|
|p/b||Partial Board - not all meals provided|
|Prof||Professional Person - means working full time|
|trans||Transport - either bus or train|
Residential Tenancy Agreement and Legislation
A residential tenancy agreement – or rental agreement – is the contract which governs the relationship between the tenant and the landlord. The Residential Tenancies Regulations 2010 contains a standard form which is to be used by the landlord or agent to create the rental agreement. The legislation which covers written and partly oral rental agreements in NSW is the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 no 42. The Act outlines the legal rights and responsibilities of the landlord and tenant for residential rental agreements.
The Condition Report
The Condition Report is part of the formal rental agreement which details the condition of the premises before the tenant moves into the premises. It is essential that the condition of the premises be accurately described in the report in order to avoid having to pay for damage which may have been pre-existing at the conclusion of the tenancy.
Reservation or Holding Fee
A potential tenant may give a landlord a reservation fee in order to ensure that no one else is given the property whilst the tenant’s application is being determined. Holding fees will only be able to be charged once a tenancy application has been approved. If the tenant pulls out after paying a holding fee they will lose the whole fee rather than a pro–rata amount. It can only be equal to 1 weeks rent..
A bond is an amount of money paid in advance of moving in, as a form of security for the landlord for any breach of agreement of damage to the premises, which may be caused by the tenant. The money is payable to an independent body, and refundable upon on the termination of the tenancy.
Rent is the amount of money that a tenant pays for exclusive use of the premises, which the landlord may require the tenant to pay in advance. The landlord must ensure they keep a record of all rent paid, and issue a receipt where necessary.
Where a landlord unreasonably increases rent, a tenant may be able to take the matter to the Consumer Trade and Tenancy Tribunal for review.
Landlord’s Rights and Obligations
The landlord is responsible for paying all rates and taxes on the land, unless otherwise agreed. The landlord is entitled to access the property, however, sufficient notice must be given to the tenant before the property is accessed.
Tenant’s Rights and Obligations
A tenant has the right to peaceful enjoyment of the property, but is also responsible for ensuring that the property is used appropriately and not damaged. For more of the rights of tenants please see the Tenant Union web site available at www.tenants.org.au
Obligation of Tenant and Landlord for Cleanliness and Repairs
Both the tenant and landlord must ensure that the premises are kept in a reasonable state of cleanliness, which is fit for habitation. The landlord must fix all repairs, and compensate the tenant where they have had to pay for urgent repairs. For more information about repairs to the rental property please see the fact sheet available at the Tenants Union web site
Addition to Premises and Alternation of Locks and Security Devices
A rental premises cannot be altered by the tenant without permission from the landlord. This limitation applies to locks and security devices, which may only be added without permission in an emergency. Any damage caused by an alternation or addition must be paid for by the tenant. For more information about locks and rental properties please refer to the Tenants Union web site.
Right to Assign or Sub-let
If a tenant wants to sub–let part of the premises or bring in an extra co–tenant, they will still need the landlord’s written approval first and landlords will need to be reasonable when considering such requests. It will be reasonable to refuse if the person is listed on a tenancy database or if an extra person would result in overcrowding. The person to whom the sublease is given, the subleasee, is subject to the same obligations as a tenant, but does not gain any rights enforceable against the landlord. Some disputes between co–tenants in shared households will be able to be taken to the Tribunal. Once a fixed–term lease ends, a co–tenant can give 21 days notice to end their contract with the landlord. This will bring an end to their liability for future rent, damage etc.
Ending a Residential Rental Agreement
A rental agreement may be terminated in several ways. Notice may be given by either the landlord or tenant once the original term of the lease has expired. However, a rental agreement may also be terminated where the agreement is breached, the property is sold or the tribunal makes an order for the termination of the lease. For more information about termination of rental agreements please refer to the Illawarra Tenants Service web site.
Taking a Dispute to the Consumer and Tenancy Tribunal
Either a tenant or a landlord may take a dispute before the Consumer Trade and Tenancy Tribunal (CTTT) where the dispute relates to an issue covered by the rental agreement. The CTTT encourages parties to conciliate, but where that fails, the dispute will proceed to a hearing where the CTTT will determine the outcome of the dispute.
We recommend that you review content on Renting a Home provided by the Department of Fair Trading. If you have any queries, please refer to the links contained in the document, or seek assistance from the Housing Officer.