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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.
  • It can be an oral agreement or 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:

When a tenant continues to live in a property and pay rent after a fixed term agreement has expired, the agreement immediately becomes a no-fixed term agreement.

A no-fixed term tenancy agreement:

Invalid lease agreement conditions

  • A condition in a lease agreement that contradicts the Residential Tenancy Act 1997 is invalid and cannot be enforced by the property owner or agent.

Sub-letting

  • One tenant (called 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; and
    • 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 residential tenancy agreement.
  • Only one bond is payable for the property.
  • Each tenant should specify how much they have contributed to the bond on the Bond Lodgement form (pdf, 219.5 KB) [This form is for printing and hardcopy only. It cannot be completed online.]
  • If a tenant leaves a share house they should contact the owner to have their name removed from the residential tenancy agreement.
  • New tenants should contact the owner to have their names added to the residential tenancy agreement.
  • The bond is lodged with the Rental Deposit Authority and 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, 158.9 KB) [This form is for printing and hardcopy only. It cannot be completed online.]
    • Lodge the form at Service Tasmania; or
    • Post the form to the Rental Deposit Authority, PO Box 56, Rosny Park TAS 7018. Recent changes to Australia Post's delivery times may affect how long it takes your documentation to reach us. For more information visit the Australia Post website.

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, but cannot exceed four (4) weeks
  • 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?

  • A 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.

Rent must be advertised as a fixed amount - rent bidding

When advertising a residential tenancy, the rent must be for a fixed amount.  Agents and owners are not allowed to advertise the rent as being within a price range (rent bracketing), or entice prospective tenants to offer a higher amount of rent (rent auctioning), or 'bid' for the property.

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