«The Residential Tenancies Act 1995 requires that a landlord or agent must give the tenant this information brochure at the time that a residential ...»
The information in this brochure is a summary of the
Residential Tenancies Act 1995, it does not replace it.
The Residential Tenancies Act 1995 requires that a landlord or agent
must give the tenant this information brochure at the time that a
residential tenancy agreement is entered into.
THIS BROCHURE SETS OUT THE GENERAL RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS
OF LANDLORDS AND TENANTS IN RESPECT OF ALL RESIDENTIAL
TENANCY AGREEMENTS IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA.A residential tenancy agreement is formed when a person (landlord/agent) gives another person (tenant), the right to occupy premises in return for payment.
THE LANDLORD/TENANT RELATIONSHIP...Landlords and tenants both have rights and obligations when a tenancy agreement is entered into. Some of these rights and obligations cannot be changed, even if there is a mutual agreement made between the parties. This brochure outlines the main requirements of both parties, for full details on rights and responsibilities; refer to the Residential Tenancies Act 1995 (the Act). If you have a query about your rights or responsibilities, contact Consumer and Business Services (CBS) on 131 882, or visit the Customer Service Centre at 91 Grenfell Street, Adelaide.
The landlord/tenant relationship begins when a landlord agrees to rent residential premises to a tenant. "Premises" includes the land and buildings contained on it, and all things provided for use by the tenant. However, a landlord and tenant may agree at the beginning of the tenancy to exclude certain parts of the premises as being for the landlord’s use only.
A tenancy agreement can be written, verbal or even implied. It does not need to be in writing to be binding. If parties wish to enter into a written agreement, a copy of a standard lease agreement is available free from CBS, or from www.sa.gov.au/tenancy/privaterentalforms The landlord must pay any cost associated with the preparation of a written lease. There is to be no cost to the tenant.
THE LANDLORD IS OBLIGED TO...inform prospective tenants of any intention to sell the property;
provide the tenant with a written notice setting out the agent/landlord contact details;
provide the tenant with a copy of the lease agreement if the landlord has required the tenant to sign a written agreement;
complete and provide 2 signed inspection sheets and a copy of this information brochure to the tenant at the commencement of the tenancy;
provide manuals, or written, or oral instructions for the operation of domestic appliances e.g. air conditioner. Domestic appliances must also be listed in the tenancy agreement;
allow the tenant to pay rent by at least one means that doesn’t involve the payment of cash, or the use of a rent collection agency;
provide the premises in a clean and reasonable state;
keep proper rent records and give proper receipts for any money received from the tenant.
If the tenant pays rent into an account that is kept by the landlord or agent at a financial institution and the landlord or agent keeps a written record containing the information normally required on a receipt, a receipt does not have to be given to the tenant;
pay charges for water usage and supply as agreed between the landlord and the tenant.
In the absence of an agreement if the water supply is separately metered, the tenant is responsible to pay for all water usage and the water supply charge. If there are multiple properties on one meter, a special clause must be included in the lease agreement outlining how water charges are to be determined. Sewerage charges are always the responsibility of the landlord;
pay council rates, land tax charges, sewerage charges and any levies;
maintain and repair the premises (having regard to their age, character and prospective life);
allow the tenant peace, comfort and privacy;
provide and maintain locks to ensure the premises are reasonably secure.
Page 2 of 11 THE TENANT IS OBLIGED TO...
pay the rent on time. If the tenant receives a Centrelink payment, the landlord may agree for the rent to be paid using Centrepay. (For details on Centrepay contact the nearest Centrelink Office). If rent is paid electronically, it will be taken to be paid on the date the money is received in the landlord’s account;
keep the premises in a reasonable state of cleanliness;
pay charges for water usage and supply as agreed between the landlord and the tenant.
In the absence of an agreement, if the water supply is separately metered, the tenant is responsible to pay for all water usage and the water supply charge. If there are multiple properties on one meter, a special clause must be included in the lease agreement outlining how water charges are to be determined. Sewerage charges and any levies are always the responsibility of the landlord;
not intentionally or negligently cause or allow damage to be caused to the premises;
notify the landlord of damage to the premises;
notify the landlord when repairs are needed;
not use the premises, or allow them to be used, for any illegal purpose;
not cause or allow a nuisance or interference with the reasonable peace, comfort and privacy of anyone else living in the immediate vicinity of the premises;
not fit any fixtures or make any alterations to the premises (including picture hooks, shelves and fences) without the landlord's permission.
LANDLORD'S RIGHT OF ENTRY TO RENTED PREMISES...
in an emergency;
at a time previously arranged with the tenant, but not more frequently than once every week for the purpose of collecting rent;
to inspect the premises (not more frequently than once every four weeks) after giving seven to fourteen days written notice specifying the date and purpose of the proposed entry and an entry period of up to two hours;
to carry out garden maintenance at a time previously arranged with the tenant no more than 7 days before the day of entry, or after giving seven to fourteen days written notice;
to carry out necessary repairs (other than in an emergency) or maintenance (other than garden maintenance) after giving at least 48 hours' notice;
after giving reasonable notice to the tenant to show the premises to prospective tenants during the last 28 days of a tenancy;
at a time agreed by the tenant, or after giving reasonable notice to the tenant to show the premises to prospective purchasers no more than twice weekly;
to determine whether a breach has been remedied after the landlord has given the tenant notice of a breach of agreement. No less than 7 and no more than 14 days written notice on a prescribed form must be given;
if it is believed on a reasonable ground that the tenant has abandoned the premises;
for some other genuine purpose after giving seven to fourteen days written notice specifying the date, time and purpose of entry, or with the consent of the tenant.
All entries, unless agreed, must take place between normal hours i.e. 8am and 8pm on any day other than a Sunday or public holiday.
AT THE BEGINNING OF A TENANCY...
A landlord has the right to choose a suitable tenant. Under the Act, it is illegal to discriminate against tenants with children. This does not apply if the landlord or agent resides in the premises to which the tenancy relates.
Other laws against discrimination also exist under the Equal Opportunity Act. For information about discrimination laws visit the Equal Opportunity Commission’s website at www.eoc.sa.gov.au.
Page 3 of 11
RESIDENTIAL TENANCY DATABASES...
A Residential Tenancy Database (RTD) is a commercial database containing information about tenancies, not a database kept by an entity for use of its officers, employees or agents.
A landlord or agent is required to inform a prospective tenant if they intend to use the services of a RTD to decide whether a residential tenancy agreement should be entered into.
They must also inform the prospective tenant if they find that an RTD contains information about them and how the tenant can have the information amended or removed.
A landlord or agent must not list information on an RTD unless the tenant is given at least 14 days to review this information. A listing will be required to be removed after 3 years.
TYPES OF LEASE AGREEMENTS...
There are two types of residential tenancy agreements.
 A periodic tenancy - an agreement (written, verbal or implied) for an indefinite period until it is lawfully terminated;
 A fixed term tenancy - a specific start date and end date agreed upon at the beginning of the tenancy (e.g., six or twelve months).
The landlords and tenants rights and obligations under both types of lease agreements are exactly the same. There are differences, however, in the conditions of termination.
A landlord must keep a copy of a written agreement and any variation of the agreement (in paper or electronic form) for 2 years after the tenancy has ended.
For rental properties where the rent payable is $250 per week and under, the landlord cannot ask for a bond that is more than four weeks' rent. For rent over $250 per week, a landlord cannot ask for a bond that is more than six weeks' rent. Money received as a bond must be receipted within 48 hours. The receipt must show the date, the person's name, the amount and address of the premises for which the bond has been paid. All bonds (including any part payments) must be lodged with CBS within two weeks (or in the case of registered land agents, four weeks) of receipt. The bond may be lodged together with a bond lodgement form (payment by Direct Debit, or cheque to the Residential Tenancies Fund), or online at www.sa.gov.au/residentialbonds.
A bond may be increased if at least two years have passed since the bond was paid or last increased. Where a bond is increased, the increase must be lodged with CBS within the required time frame.
Housing SA issue bond guarantees to approved tenants; this guarantee is used in the same way as a cash bond and provides the same security for landlords. Bond guarantees do not become valid until they have been lodged with CBS and have received a lodgement number.
Housing SA will cancel a bond guarantee if it is not lodged with CBS by the ‘lodge by’ date shown on the front of the form.
WHETHER OR NOT A BOND IS PAID, THE ACT APPLIES TO ALL RESIDENTIAL
TENANCY AGREEMENTS IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA.
Page 4 of 11 INSPECTION SHEETS...
At the beginning of the tenancy the landlord is required to provide the tenant with two signed inspection sheets, which must include comprehensive details of fixtures, furniture and other contents in the premises and their condition at the commencement of the tenancy. After both inspection sheets have been completed and signed by the tenant, the tenant must keep one and return the other copy to the landlord. The inspection sheets may be adapted to suit particular premises. Care should be taken when completing these forms, as they may be called upon in the event of a dispute or for repayment of the bond at the end of the tenancy.
INSPECTION SHEETS SHOULD BE RETAINED THROUGHOUT THE TENANCY.
CARE SHOULD BE TAKEN SO THAT THEY ARE NOT LOST OR DESTROYED.
RENT IN ADVANCE...
Besides paying a bond at the beginning of the tenancy, a tenant can be required to pay the first two weeks' rent. If two weeks' rent is paid at the start of the tenancy, no rent is due until those two weeks have passed. Besides a bond and two weeks' rent, the landlord cannot ask for any other money at the start of the tenancy.
The landlord may increase the rent under the following circumstances:
where there is a fixed term agreement, the rent cannot be increased during the term, unless the agreement includes a condition that specifically provides for an increase in rent and indicates how any rent increase will be calculated (e.g. in accordance with CPI). If the agreement provides for an increase, the rent can be increased after giving at least sixty days written notice, specifying the amount of the increase and the date on which the increase is to commence. The date fixed for an increase must be at least twelve months after the commencement of the agreement or, at least twelve months since the last increase in rent;
where there is a periodic agreement, the rent can be increased after giving at least sixty days written notice, specifying the amount of the increase and the date on which the increase is to commence. The date fixed for an increase must be at least twelve months after the commencement of the agreement or, at least twelve months since the last increase in rent;
with an offer of extension or new agreement, provided the rent was not increased in the last twelve months;
anytime by mutual agreement between the landlord and the tenant.
Where specific rent increases are set out in the lease agreement and the dates on which the increases will occur are clearly defined, 60 days written notice is not required.
REPAIRS AND MAINTENANCE...
It is the tenant's responsibility not to cause damage to the premises. If damage does occur, the landlord should be notified as soon as possible. If a tenant intentionally or carelessly causes (or allows damage to be caused) to the premises, it is the tenant's responsibility to repair the damage.
If damage or repairs are needed due to normal wear and tear, or in any way that is not the tenant's fault, the landlord should be notified immediately. It is the landlord's responsibility to repair and maintain the premises under these circumstances. If the landlord has not attended to the repair, or if the tenant has not been able to contact the landlord, the tenant may have emergency repairs carried out by a licensed tradesperson. If this happens, the tenant must get a written report from the tradesperson.
Page 5 of 11 TERMINATION...