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Key things to understand about your tenancy agreement

By Rikki Cook

It probably won’t be news to you that when renting a Alexandra Hills property, you’ll need to sign a tenancy agreement. The legal document, also known as Form 18a, is an agreement between you, as the tenant, and the landlord or the property manager that they have appointed.

In basic terms, it sets out who is accountable for what. From paying rent, to maintaining the property and what happens at the end of the tenancy, the agreement should cover any queries that either party could have around how a dispute should be resolved and who has responsibility for different issues. Eventually, it will be accompanied by an entry condition report and details of your bond lodgement, so make sure all documents are safely stored together.

The regulations around what must be included do vary slightly across states. However, all Australian tenancy agreements must include the name and address of both parties, the start and end date of the rental, the rent should be paid and the method required, standard terms and special terms.

Agreements are usually quite straightforward, but if you’re unfamiliar with them, there may be a few new terms and ideas. Here, we explain some points you should pay special attention to when signing an agreement.

1. A tenancy can be fixed term or periodic: A fixed term tenancy is simple in that the agreement lasts for exactly the period stated (often 6 or 12 months). A periodic tenancy has an indefinite end point and continues rolling until one or other party gives the required notice.

2. Special terms can vary widely between agreements: This refers to the more personal features of an agreement, as opposed to the points covered as standard terms in all agreements. It could include statements about specific pets that are or are not allowed to live in the property, or conditions around such rules. This could change whether or not the property is suitable for you to rent, so it’s worth reading thoroughly.

3. How the rent should be paid: Hopefully by the time you are looking at the tenancy, you’ll know how much rent you need to pay. The tenancy agreement should specify when it must be paid, and it’s important to check that this fits in with your other bills and payments. If the rent is due the day before pay day or on random date in between, for example, can you guarantee the relevant funds will be in place? Make arrangements in advance if you need to change something around.

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