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27Jun

As a tenant, it’s important to be aware of your rights. Whilst landlords are obliged to be fair, the extensive tenancy laws make it hard for them to know all the details involving tenancy agreements.

Take note of this important information to ensure you know your rights when renting

 

Do I need to pay for broken items?

When something in the rented property is broken, the landlord is required to pay the cost of it. However, if the tenant causes the damage, landlords can ask the tenant to arrange the repair or pay for the necessary repairs.   If an item needs to be urgently repaired (e.g. a serious roof leak) and the landlord is not responding promptly, you can authorise a repair for up to $1800.

Am I entitled to compensation?

Renters have a right to be compensated by their landlord if they are not carrying out their duties. If the landlord also disrupts the peace by holding too many open for inspections or repeatedly coming to the property without proper notice, tenants also have a right to compensation. Tenants must be notified at least 24 hours in advance before landlords or agents enter the property.

Do I need to pay for my utilities to be connected?

A tenant is only liable to pay for utilities such as electricity, gas and water if the supply is separately metered. Landlords must pay all installation and initial costs for connecting electricity, gas and oil supply if there is no separate meter. If you’ve paid the costs of any utilities that your landlord is liable for, they must reimburse you.

Will my landlord instigate a rental increase?

Landlords need to give the tenants sufficient (60 days) written notice of the rental increase. Rental increases are only permitted if they’re part of the tenancy agreement. If the tenancy agreement is for a fixed term, the landlord cannot increase the rent before the final date unless the agreement states otherwise. They also cannot increase the rent more than once in a six month period. Tenants are not obliged to accept a rental increase, particularly if similar local properties are lower in price, or if the owner or agent has withdrawn services, facilities or other items that are part of the property.

The bond

Most lessors/agents require a bond as security for the premises. Paying the bond occurs at the beginning of the tenancy. At the conclusion of the tenancy, the landlord can claim all or part of the bond as compensation for damage to the property or unpaid rent. If you pay the bond, you must receive two copies of the condition report signed by the landlord. Landlords cannot increase the bond if the rent is $350 or less per week when the tenant commences the rental agreement.

Paying rent

You cannot refuse to pay your rent, or undertake a ‘rent strike’. You must apply to the tribunal, as not paying your rent is a breach of your tenancy agreement and the landlord may take steps to end your tenancy. If your rent is paid weekly, your landlord cannot ask for more than 14 days rent at the commencement of the tenancy. Otherwise the landlord or agent cannot request more than one month’s rent in advance provided the rent is $350 a week or less.