What to look for when signing your tenancy agreement.
A tenancy agreement is a legally binding written agreement between a tenant and property owner. It is, therefore, crucial to take some time to review the document in its entirety, understand what it says, and ask questions before signing and acknowledging that you agree to its content.
In this blog, our agents outline areas to look for and carefully consider when signing your tenancy agreement.
Your rights and responsibilities
Renting a property involves a number of legalities. Each state has a governing body that dictates tenants’ rights and responsibilities. Check the appropriate website to ensure you know the latest information: NSW, ACT, QLD, VIC, WA, SA, TAS, NT.
Your tenancy agreement, entry condition report and bond lodgement forms are all legally binding documents. Take time to read them, so you know what you are agreeing to, and store them safely and securely. Contact your property manager if you have any questions about your rights and responsibilities.
The tenancy agreement should outline tenant names, the length of the lease, rental payment options, contact numbers for repairs and maintenance, any other costs you may be responsible for (such as water usage), any change in rent during the period of the agreement and the bond amount held.
Notify your property manager if any of your circumstances change, for example, if you need to change the day you pay your rent due to a change in your pay cycle. Remember, a tenancy agreement is a legally binding document and must be amended if anything outlined in the agreement changes.
An entry condition report is a legal document provided as part of the tenancy agreement to help determine a bond refund when the tenant moves out. Therefore, it is essential to give your entry condition report your full attention.
Incoming tenants have limited time to add comments to the entry condition report. If you do not return your entry condition report within the set timeframe, the entry condition report supplied to you by your property manager will be the only document referred to at the end of your tenancy.
Maintenance and repairs
The property owner is responsible for ensuring the premise is in a good state for occupancy, and your property manager will have worked with the owner to ensure their obligations are met at the start of your tenancy. The tenancy agreement should outline a process for maintenance and repairs, including urgent maintenance.
It is your responsibility to contact the property manager when maintenance and repairs are required. Property managers spend a lot of time out of the office; therefore, it is imperative to follow the process for making a maintenance request, which is usually to report it in writing. Urgent repairs are governed by legislation. If you have an urgent repair, refer to your tenancy agreement for the right people to contact.
Each state in Australia has different compliance requirements. The property manager should supply you with compliance certificates for any requirements specific to your rental property.
The tenancy agreement should outline bond and rental payment processes. Pay close attention to how and when payments should be paid. Arrears will be documented on your tenancy ledger if you fall behind on regular rental payments. If this happens, it is essential to keep your property managers up to date – they can work with you to bring your payments back into line with your tenancy requirements, so your rental history isn’t affected.
Before signing a tenancy agreement, it is important to consider what insurance coverage you may need while renting. Regardless of how it occurred, any damage to your belongings may not be covered by the owner’s insurance. Contents insurance is necessary to cover any unforeseen event that involves you or your belongings. If someone injures themself on or with any of your belongings, the incident may not be covered by the owner’s insurance.
Property managers act as conduits between tenants and landlords, handling inspections, leases, rent payments, legalities, and day-to-day demands. Your property manager should be accessible to you throughout your tenancy.
Make sure you note the best method for communicating with your property manager, save their phone number and email, and remember to update them with any changes to your situation throughout your tenancy to foster a healthy and productive relationship.