This guide covers landlords (or head-tenants) and tenants (or sub-tenants) in a Residential Tenancy. This applies to the majority of share accommodation and residential property rental situations. To confirm it covers your situation visit What is my share accommodation situation?
In the ACT, a Residential Tenancy Agreement is used for agreements between:
Note: Although the form has labels for a ‘landlord’ and ‘tenant’, these are just convenient labels - in sub-letting situations, the head-tenant should be listed as ‘landlord’ and the sub-tenant as ‘tenant’.
The agreement has two purposes. Firstly, it allows the landlord and tenant to list the details of the tenancy, such as names of the parties, the length of the agreement, amount of the rent, and how any payments should be made.
Secondly, the agreement includes the terms and conditions of the tenancy. This includes: rent, maintenance, and rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords.
In the ACT, a residential tenancy agreement can be written or oral. Regardless of whether the agreement is written or oral, the standard terms created by the ACT Government apply.
Written agreements secure the tenancy and provide certainty
The ACT Government has created a Standard Form Tenancy Agreement that must be used by for all residential tenancies
Landlords must give a copy of the proposed agreement and the standard terms to every tenant before signing the agreement. The tenant should be given a reasonable period of time to read and understand the terms of the agreement.
In addition, the landlord must give the tenant a copy of The Renting Book before entering the agreement.
After the agreement has been signed by the tenant, the landlord must give the tenant a copy of the agreement within 3 weeks.
Both Tenants and Landlords should take the time to read the terms in the agreement and this guide before signing the agreement.
There is no minimum or maximum length of agreement under ACT law.
If, however, you are renting a premises for a holiday, then you should not use a residential tenancy agreement.
If the tenant is renting a room in a share house, it is very important that the agreement detail which parts of the premises the tenant has exclusive possession of, and which parts the tenant has shared use of.
A common situation is for the tenant to have exclusive possession of their own bedroom and shared use of kitchen, bathroom and laundry facilities. By describing in the agreement which parts of the property the tenant does and does not have exclusive possession over, the rights and obligations of all parties are guaranteed.
The tenant and landlord can agree for additional terms to apply to the agreement in addition to the standard terms. These should be listed on the residential tenancy agreement.
Any additional terms cannot contradict or change the standard terms, and also cannot try to exclude any of the legal rules in ACT law from applying to the agreement.
Transferring money safely
When paying your deposit, bond or rent by cash make sure you get a receipt. With modern phones this can be as simple as an SMS or email confirming the amount, date and what it is for. Keep a copy of this incase you need it later.
Never ever transfer money to a bank account outside of Australia or use a untraceable money transfer system such as WESTERN UNION. If anyone asks you to do this on any website it is likely to be a scam and you are almost guaranteed to lose your money.
If this ever happens on Flatmates.com.au report the member immediately so we can investigate and take the appropriate action.
These legal guides provide a brief summary and introduction of the laws and regulations affecting share accommodation. They do not cover all cases in all legal jurisdictions and might not apply in your specific share accommodation situation. It is important that you use this information as a guide only and seek independent Legal Advice or consult the Relevant Acts. We do not accept any liability that may arise from the use of this information.