Renting

Rent payments

The tenancy agreement must state the amount of rent, and when it is to be paid. The method of payment (e.g. direct deposit) and the place of payment should also be included.

The property manager/owner cannot use rent for any other purpose (e.g. to cover the cost of damage or repairs); it is an offence to do so.

Ways rent can be paid (listed in the Act):

  • cash
  • cheque
  • deposit to a financial institution account (nominated by property manager/owner)
  • via EFTPOS
  • credit card
  • payroll deductions (or pension deduction)
  • any other method agreed on by the property manager/owner and the tenant (e.g. rent card)

If the property manager/owner wants the tenant to pay by another method (e.g. rent card) they must inform the tenant of any costs (e.g. joining and processing fees) associated with that method and offer at least 2 other listed ways to pay the rent.

Rent cards

Rent cards are increasing in popularity, however a tenant does not have to agree to pay rent this way.

Rent cards allow rent payments to be processed by a third party (e.g. REConnect oneCard, DEFT Card, LJ Hooker Priority Card).

The tenant is usually charged a monthly service fee and may be liable for a range of other fees and charges (e.g. dishonour fee).

If the property manager/owner would like the tenant to use a rent card they must offer the tenant 2 other ways to pay the rent (e.g. by cheque, EFTPOS or direct debit).

The RTA does not get involved in disputes between the rent card company and a tenant.

The property manager/owner must ensure the tenant is fully aware of all charges, fees and rules associated with rent cards. The tenant should make sure they understand this detail before signing the tenancy agreement or rent card contract.

Maximum rent payments

Fixed term agreements 1 month
Periodic agreements
2 weeks rent
Moveable dwellings 2 weeks rent
Rooming accommodation 2 weeks rent

The property manager/owner cannot ask the tenant to make another rent payment before the rent for that period has been used up; it is an offence to do so.

Rent in advance

A tenant will often be asked to pay ‘rent in advance’. This is simply the first rent payment the tenant makes to the property manager/owner (before, or on the day, they move in). The tenant cannot be asked to make another rent payment until the ‘rent in advance’ has been used up.

Example: The agreement states the tenant must pay rent of $400 a fortnight. Before they move in they pay $400 ‘rent in advance’. The tenant moves into the property and lives there for 2 weeks. At the end of that 2 weeks their next $400 rent payment is due. The ‘rent in advance’ has been used up.

Receipts

If the tenant pays rent in cash, or requests a receipt when paying by cheque, the property manager/owner must provide a receipt; it is an offence not to do so.

Rent ledgers

The property manager/owner must keep an accurate record (ledger) of rent paid by the tenant and retain it for 1 year after the tenancy has ended. The tenant can ask for a copy of the rent record at any time and it must be provided within 7 days.