Types of residential tenancy agreement in Australia.

By: Robert Mark | Posted: 22nd November 2010

Residential Tenancy Agreement

What to include in residential tenancy agreement? This article is a comprehensive guide for landlords who want to rent their premises in Australia.

Residential Tenancy Agreement

A tenancy agreement is a contract between a landlord and a tenant specifying the terms and conditions of their rental agreement. Tenancy agreements are usually put in place before letting out property.

Difference between Residential Tenancy Agreement and License

A tenancy has the legal effect of passing an interest in land from the landlord to the tenant. It means that the tenant is given the right of occupation. If a landlord is in breach of a tenancy document, then the tenant can claim damages (compensation) against the landlord and continue to occupy the property in question.

In contrast, a license creates no interest in land. The licensor only allows the licensee to use the land, not to exclusively occupy it. The licensee’s remedy against the licensor’s breach of the license may lie only in claiming damages, but not in occupation of the property. Therefore, a license is typically used for short-term occupation (e.g. for several weeks or months) or where the licensee does not have exclusive occupation of the property, e.g. a car parking space , a newsstand or a "kiosk" in a shopping mall.

Types of Residential Tenancy Agreement in Australia

There are two types of tenancy in Australia:

• Fixed term tenancies, for a specific period of time;

• Periodic tenancies, which go either from week to week, or from month to month.

What should Residential Tenancy Agreement Include?

It is important that both parties are fully aware of what is included in the agreement. Standard information that should be in all residential tenancy agreements includes:

• All parties involved (this includes the guarantor if there is one).

• Address of the property (or room) being rented.

• Start and end date of the tenancy.

• Name and address of landlord.

• Name and address of any letting agent.

• Amount of rent to be paid and the date it should be paid.

• Method of payment.

• Any additional charges.

• Whether a deposit must be paid, what it covers and the amount paid.

• Whether the tenancy can be ended early by the landlord or tenant and if so how much notice must be given.

• Who is responsible for minor repairs.

• Whether a tenant is allowed to sublet.

• Whether a tenant can have lodgers.

• Whether the tenancy may be passed on to anyone else.

• Rules regarding pets, smoking etc.

Remember, an agreement can be amended by adding or removing any terms as required, as long as they do not conflict with law. When approved by both landlord and tenant, a tenancy agreement is a legally binding document


The tenant is usually required to pay both rent in advance plus a rental bond, which functions as a security deposit in the event the tenant fails to pay rent, services, or incurs serious damage to the property.

The maximum advance rent is generally two weeks or a month’s rent, depending on the type of tenancy agreement and the state:

• In New South Wales, the maximum rent advance is two weeks’ rent, if the rent is less than Au$300 (US$233) a week; otherwise, four weeks.

• In Queensland, the maximum is one month’s rent for fixed term tenancies and two weeks’ rent for periodic agreements.

• In Tasmania, the maximum is one month’s rent.

• In Victoria, the maximum is one month in tenancies where the rent is less than Au$350 (US$272)/week.

• In the Australian Capital Territory, the maximum rent advance is a month’s rent.

• In the Northern Territory, the maximum rent advance is one rental payment period.

The tenant is in addition usually expected to pay a rental bond. Each state, except Tasmania, Western Australia and Northern Territory, has its own Rental Bonds office, and maximum rates for the rental bonds differ according to the rent, type of tenancy agreement and state where the tenancy takes effect.

• In New South Wales, the maximum bond rate is quite complicated: four weeks for unfurnished premises, six weeks for furnished premises with rent of less than Au$250 (US$194) a week and an unlimited amount for furnished premises with weekly rents of more than Au$250 (US$194). Bonds must be lodged with the Renting Branch of the Office of Fair Trading.

• In Queensland, the maximum bond is four weeks’ rent, if the weekly rent is less than Au$500. For premises that charge a weekly rent that exceeds Au$500 an unlimited amount can be asked. Bonds must be lodged to the Residential Tenancies Authority.

• In South Australia, bonds should not be more than four weeks’ rent if the weekly rent is less than Au$250; otherwise, a landlord can ask six weeks’ rent as bond. Security bonds must be paid to the Residential Tenancies Fund.

• In Victoria, the maximum bond is four weeks’ rent, for tenancies worth less than Au$350 (US$272)/ weekly. The Tribunal, upon application of the landlord, will determine the maximum bond for premises with weekly rent that exceeds Au$350. Bonds should be lodged with the Residential Tenancies Bonds Authority.

• In Western Australia, the maximum bond is four weeks’ rent.

• In the Australian Capital Territory, the maximum bond is four weeks’ rent. Bonds should be lodged with the Office of Rental Bonds.

• In the Northern Territory, the maximum bond is four weeks’ rent.

Changing the Tenancy Agreement

A tenancy agreement can normally only be changed if both tenant and landlord agree. If both agree, the change should be recorded in writing, either by drawing up a new written document setting out the terms of the tenancy or by amending the existing written tenancy agreement.

Relevant Provisions of Law

All residential tenancy agreements must comply with statutory law. This is law that has been passed in parliament and is therefore legally binding and enforceable regardless of what is stated in the residential tenancy agreement. With all residential tenancy agreements there are rights by law for both landlord and tenant; even though these may not have been discussed between both parties, they apply to all tenancy agreements.

Net Lawman Residential Tenancy Agreement

Our outline agreements, which can be used both in respect of houses and flats, are suitable for residential tenancies agreement. Our Documents are drafted by expert team of Solicitors and Barristers and can be customize according to the wishes of Landlord.

Our all templates are in plain English with explanatory notes.

Tenancy Agreement - Tenancy Agreements - Residential Tenancy Agreement

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