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?
A landlord can only require a prospective tenant to pay a Holding Deposit after giving the prospective tenant a copy of the proposed residential tenancy agreement.
There are no restrictions on the amount that may be charged as a Holding Deposit.
It is common practice for the Holding Deposit to be 1-2 weeks rent.
The landlord must give the tenant a written receipt to be signed by the prospective tenant. The receipt must state:
Paying a Holding Deposit creates an option period. The default option period is 48 hours, however the landlord and tenant can agree to a different option period.
During the option period, the landlord cannot:
When the landlord keeps the Holding Deposit:
When the prospective tenant regains the Holding Deposit:
A Key Deposit is an amount that a landlord may require a prospective tenant to pay in exchange for a key to inspect the premises. The deposit acts as security in case the key is lost, stolen or damaged. The key deposit must be refunded when the keys are returned.
A key deposit can only be used for inspections pre-tenancy and cannot be held during the tenancy.
There are no restrictions on how much can be charged for a Key Deposit. However, it is best practice for the Key Deposit to be a reasonable estimation of the cost of replacing the key.
The landlord must give the prospective tenant a receipt to be signed by the tenant. The receipt must state:
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.