Before you enter any agreement or pay any money, it’s important to know exactly what you are agreeing to. Use the pre-agreement checklist to make sure you discuss the most important matters before you make any commitments.
You can fill in the checklist on your device or print it to take to your viewing
Download the FREE Pre-agreement checklist
What should I do before entering an agreement?
1. Meet all your potential flatmates
You should always meet your new flatmate before entering an agreement or paying any money. Preferably, this means meeting in person at an inspection of the property. If this is not possible, you could organise a Skype or phone call instead. To make sure a place is the right fit, it is best for the new flatmate to meet everybody living there before making any commitments.
Tip: Remember, you’re going to be living with the potential flatmates, so it is very important to find people you know you can get along with.
2. Exchange basic details of potential flatmates and the property
The people offering and looking for a room should exchange basic details including:
- Current address
- Contact details: mobile phone number, email, etc.
Tip: It is also a good idea to view the other person’s ID when you meet them.
3. What type of agreement?
You should discuss what type of agreement you’re going to use. Flatmates.com.au recommends using a residential tenancy agreement in more share accommodation situations.
- Residential Tenancy Agreement or common law agreement? (Flatmates.com.au recommends using a residential tenancy agreement in most share accommodation situations)
- Is the agreement for a fixed term (e.g. 6 months) or periodic (i.e. continues indefinitely until terminated)?
Read more about the different types of share accommodation agreements.
4. Bond (Security Deposit)
If the person offering the room requires a bond, you will need to discuss how it will work.
- Is a bond required?
- How much is the bond?
- Who holds the bond during the tenancy?
Read more about bonds.
You’ll need to negotiate how much the rent is and how it will be paid.
- How much is the rent?
- Who is the rent paid to?
- How regularly is rent paid? Weekly, fortnightly, monthly?
- How will rent and other amounts be paid? Cash, bank transfer, cheque?
- On what day should rent be paid?
- How are receipts given? (receipts should always be given, especially for cash payments)
Tip: direct bank transfer is the safest way to pay rent. Never use untraceable money transfer systems like Western Union.
Read more about paying rent.
6. How are the bills paid?
It is very important to discuss how bills are paid. This allows a potential flatmate to decide whether they can afford to live in the share house.
- What kind of bills does the flatmate need to pay? (e.g. water, electricity, gas, phone, internet)
- How much does the flatmate pay?
- Are the bills divided equally or is usage separately metered?
- Are the bills included in the rent?
- How are bills paid? Directly to the company/government or to the landlord?
Read more about paying bills.
7. Is the room furnished?
The new flatmate needs to know if they will need to bring their own furniture.
- Does the room come with a bed and other furniture?
- Is there anything else provided with the room or property?
8. Which parts of the property can the new flatmate use?
In a share house, generally each flatmate has their own room and access to shared facilities.
- Which parts of the property does the flatmate have exclusive use of? (e.g. bedroom)
- Which parts does the flatmate have shared access to? (e.g. bathrooms, laundry, kitchen)
- Are there any parts of the property the tenant cannot access?
9. Are there any house rules?
The existing flatmates often have house rules about chores and other matters. The new flatmate should be made aware of these before making any commitments.
- What is the new flatmate expected to do?
- Is there anything that the flatmate is not allowed to do?
Read more about rights and obligations during the tenancy.
10. How does the agreement end?
Understanding when and how the agreement can end will help to avoid disputes in the future.
- How much notice needs to be given to end the agreement? (e.g. 2-4 weeks)
- If the agreement is for a fixed term, is the flatmate expected to move out at the end?
Read more about ending the agreement.
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.