What is a Residential Tenancy Agreement?

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A residential tenancy agreement, lease agreement or tenancy agreement is the legal document that is required when a Landlord/Owner/Property Agent and Tenant/Renter enter into an agreement for the Tenant to rent a property for a specified period. 

A tenancy agreement is a legally binding document, and it is important that all that enter into the agreement understand the terms and conditions of the agreement and its requirements. 

Each state and territory have some similarities in the regulations of a tenancy agreement, however, there are also some differences. 

It is recommended that all agreements are in writing, even if there are verbal agreements in cases where an Owner is renting to a friend or family member. The tenant and owner should read through the agreement to be aware of and understand the terms that they are signing and agreeing to.

While there are slight differences across states and territories, all agreements must have the following.

  • The start and end date of the agreement and the period that it is for. For example, 26 or 52 weeks. 
  • The amount of rent to be paid the frequency of rent payments. They could be weekly, fortnightly or calendar monthly.
  • The Owner, Tenant and Agent names and contact details and the address of the property.
  • Any standard terms that are outlined in the legislation with requirements for both the Owner and the Tenant.
  • Any special conditions that are outlined and agreed with the Owner/Agent and Tenant before the agreement is prepared and signed. 

As an Owner, if a Property Manager is preparing and entering into the agreement on your behalf, there will be agents fee that you will be responsible for, including letting fees, document preparation fees, marketing, and photography fees. These are usually in addition to the monthly management fee as they are costs above the daily management inclusions of a property.

A Property Manager will prepare the lease documents and sign on your behalf once the tenant has signed the agreement. They will also prepare an ingoing property condition report to include with the tenancy agreement which outlines the condition of the property at the commencement of the tenancy. This document will then be referred to when the tenant vacates to compare the condition at the start and end of the tenancy.

Once the agreement is signed, the agent will provide a copy to the Owner and the Tenant for their records.