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 property manager/owner must provide the agreement to the tenant on or before the day the tenant occupies the property under the agreement. The tenant must then 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.