Whether you're a first-time renter or an old hand, it’s important to know what your tenant rights are; you don’t want any nasty surprises in the future.
You’ve found that perfect rental property and you’re ready to sign away. Before you do, make sure you’ve considered the following situations.
Take a close look at tenancy agreement before you sign it
Make sure the landlord has filled in his/her details and that you know who to contact in case of emergency or the need for repairs. The landlord may also enter extra terms and conditions but you need to check to make sure they comply with the Residential Tenancies Act.
As you’re filling in the condition report, be sure to note any problems and take photos.
Landlords cannot discriminate against potential tenants on grounds such as race, sex, sexual orientation, age, whether you have children or marital status when considering applications.
While the Residential Tenancies Act doesn’t mention pets, a landlord can include a clause that bans pets in the tenancy agreement. If you have a pet or wish to have one in the future, let your landlord know. If the pet causes damage or neighbours complain about the noise it creates, you can be issued with a ‘Breach of Duty’. Also, if your pet is endangering the safety of others, you may receive a ‘Notice to Vacate’.
Your responsibilities as a tenant
Always pay your rent on time and get a receipt for your own records.
It’s also your responsibility to look after the property and keep it clean. You should not use the property for illegal practices and let your landlord know of any problems with fittings and appliances – don’t just fix them yourself.
The landlord’s responsibilities
In turn, your landlord must have the property clean before your arrival and must keep the premises in good repair.
- Urgent repairs including gas leaks, a burst water system or blocked toilet must be attended to by the landlord immediately.
- Smoke alarms should be fitted.
- All pools and spas must have an adequate fence as per the law.
- The landlord must wait three months before carrying out an inspection.
- Your landlord or real estate agent can enter the property with 24 hours notice and at an agreed time.
- Your rent cannot be increased before the end of your fixed-term rental agreement. It can also not be increased more than once in a six-month period.
Ending a tenancy agreement
A tenancy agreement can be terminated if:
- The landlord and tenants agree to end the agreement.
- The tenant is issued with a ‘Notice to Vacate’.
- The tenant gives reasonable notice that he/she wishes to vacate the property.
Before you make the move to your new rental, be sure to connect your utilities ahead of time.
This article is a general overview of the issues only. It is not comprehensive and does not constitute legal advice. We suggest you seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content.