A written agreement must always be used when renting, even if the person renting is family or a friend. It is a legally binding written contract that outlines the legal rights and responsibilities of a tenant and property manager/owner. It applies to everyone renting the property (e.g. those in share homes or co-tenancies).
It is the property manager/owner’s responsibility to organise the agreement and give a copy to the tenant before they pay any money or commit to the tenancy.
A tenancy agreement must include:
- the name and address of the tenant and property manager/owner
- the start and end date of the agreement (or state that it is periodic)
- how the tenant should pay rent and how much is to be paid
- standard terms (what the tenant and the property manager/owner can and cannot do)
- any special terms (these should be agreed in advance, e.g. a dog is allowed but must be kept outside)
Special terms can be added if the property manager/owner and tenant agree.
Examples: keeping pets, water charging, pool maintenance
Signing the agreement
The tenant must sign the agreement and return it to the property manager/owner within 5 days.
The tenant should be sent a copy within 14 days of the property manager/owner receiving the original.
The tenant must also be given a copy of the Pocket guide for tenants – houses and units (Form 17a).
During the tenancy
The property manager/owner must give permission for any new tenants or sub-tenants before they can move in.
Property manager/owner records
The property manager/owner must keep a copy of the agreement for 1 year after the agreement ends.