A residential tenancy agreement is an agreement between a landlord and tenant to occupy a residential premises, upon payment of an agreed rent.
The lease or residential tenancy agreement is an agreement between the tenant and the landlord. It is made up of two parts.
The first part sets out both the tenant's and the landlord's rights and responsibilities. If you sign the lease it means that you agree to abide by its terms and conditions.
It is a legal document, therefore you need to read it and understand it before you sign. The second part of the lease is the condition report.
At the start of every tenancy, the landlord or agent must give you a copy of a Fair Trading publication called the New tenant checklist The New tenant checklist contains important information you should be aware of before signing a new lease. Make sure you read it carefully and ask your landlord or agent about anything you do not understand.
Remember, you are committing to a legally binding contract and there is no cooling–off period. You need to be certain you understand and agree to what you are signing and that you are able to stay until the end of the fixed term and if you are not sure seek legal advice.
A lease should include information such as:
- Location of property
- Total Rent
- Amount of bond
- Commencement and end date of your tenancy
- The landlords’ name
A lease will usually have a fixed term for a specified period of time and this will be noted on the lease itself. This period can be 6 or 12 months, or some other period. Make sure you and your fellow tenants are going to be able to stay for the entire fixed period. Leaving early can make you liable for significant re-letting costs.
Once the fixed term ends the tenancy continues and it becomes a continuing or 'periodic' agreement. If you choose to stay in the place under a continuing or 'periodic' agreement you must still follow the terms and conditions of the lease.
Lease/tenancy agreements differ between states, so please make sure you have the documentation from your appropriate state.