1. Starting a tenancy
Moving into a private rental
You will be required to pay bond (security deposit) and two weeks rent in advance. The bond is held by the Renting Services of NSW Fair Trading for the duration of the tenancy. The most bond you can be required to pay is an amount equal to four weeks rent. At the end of the tenancy, the bond should be returned to you in full unless you are behind in your rent or have damaged the property, in which case the landlord can claim for their losses.
At the start of every tenancy, the landlord or agent must give you a copy of a Fair Trading publication called New Tenant Checklist. The New tenant checklist is a fact sheet that contains important information you should be aware of before signing a new lease. Make sure you read it carefully and ask your landlord or agent about anything you do not understand.
You should also be given a copy of your lease and two copies of the premises condition report, which you should fill in and then return one of the copies to your landlord or agent within 7 days. You should take your time to fill it out with as much detail and accuracy as possible.
The condition report will be a key piece of evidence at the end of the tenancy if there is a dispute about who should pay for cleaning, damage or the replacement of missing items. For more information, go to the Filling Out a Condition Report page on the NSW Fair Trading website.
Moving into an established share house
When you move into an establish share house you will most likely be required to pay bond to the out-going person along with two weeks rent in advance.
Where possible, make sure you review any original condition report as there may be new damage you could be liable for. Have your name included on the tenancy agreement or a written agreement with the head-tenant and your name included on the bond form held with the Renting Services of NSW Fair Trading.
2. During a tenancy
Once you have signed the lease, completed the condition report and settled into your new home, circumstances can change and you will need to know what to do and how to handle each situation.
The NSW Fair Trading website outlines common issues that may arise during your tenancy and how to deal with them, including:
- Privacy when renting
- Getting repairs done
- Safety and security
- Rent increases
- Paying water charges
- Falling behind with your rent (PDF)
- Asking to make an alteration
- Sharing a rented home
- Domestic violence in a rented property
3. Ending a tenancy
Depending on your accommodation arrangement will determine how your tenancy may end. Generally, to end your tenancy you will need to give written notice to the landlord or agent.
Your landlord may terminate your agreement
- If the landlord wants you to leave at the end of the fixed term, the landlord has to give 30 days written notice.
- After the fixed term of the agreement expires, it automatically becomes a periodic agreement. From this point, the landlord must give you 90 days written notice if the landlord is terminating the agreement for no reason, or 30 days if the place has been sold with vacant possession. After you have left the property, you will not have to pay any further rent.
- Once the landlord gives you any of these types of termination notices, you may leave at any time before the termination date. This means that if you are required to leave by a certain date and you find a place to move into before that date, you can move out and give the landlord vacant possession. If you move out before a 90 days ‘no grounds’ notice expires, you will not have to pay further rent after you have left.
You may terminate your agreement
- If you want to end your tenancy when the fixed term period of the agreement is due to run out, you will need to give at least 14 days notice. This notice can be given up to and including the last day of the fixed term.
- If you want to end your tenancy after the fixed term has ended (and you have not signed another lease), you will need to give at least 21 days notice. This notice can be given at any time and does not have to line up with the rent payment cycle. You must pay the rent up to and including the day your notice ends and you vacate.
There is a breach of agreement by either party terminating the agreement
- If your landlord is not complying with the terms of your tenancy agreement you may be able to end your lease early without penalty, for example, if the landlord is failing to keep the premises in reasonable repair. If you think the breach is serious enough to justify ending the tenancy, you can give 14 days written termination notice to the landlord. If they disagree they can apply to the Tribunal.
- If you have breached the agreement either during the fixed-term or periodic agreement, the landlord only has to give you 14 days written notice, e.g. for non-payment of rent for more than 14 days.
The information on the following pages covers other issues about ending a tenancy:
- Breaking a lease early
- Getting your bond back
- Retrieving goods left behind
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