South Australia Tenancy Agreements


All residential tenancies in SA are covered by standard terms which cannot be altered. It is the landlords obligation to put the agreement in writing and they must keep a copy of this agreement for 2 years.

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?

The standard form SA Tenancy Agreement for Fixed Term Tenancies or Periodic Tenancies can be downloaded and used for free from the SA Government website.

A fixed term tenancy is where the tenancy agreement has a specific length agreed to by the tenant and landlord, e.g. 6 months. A periodic tenancy is where the tenancy agreement has no specific length agreed to, e.g. Month-to-month

In SA, this standard form Residential Tenancy Agreement should be used for agreements between:

  • Landlord and a tenant
  • Landlord and co-tenants
  • Head-tenant and sub-tenants

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’.

Information for Tenants
The landlord must also ensure that the tenant receives a copy of the South Australia Tenancy Information Brochure before they move in. The brochure provides the tenant with important information about the rights and duties of the landlord and tenant during the course of the agreement.

What is the agreement’s purpose?

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.

Do I need to have an agreement in writing?

In South Australia, a residential tenancy agreement can be written or oral.

Landlords are however obligated to put the agreement in writing and to keep a copy of the agreement for 2 years after the end of the tenancy. Only the landlord can bear cost of preparing a written agreement. Landlords must give a copy of the agreement to every tenant when signing the agreement.

The SA government has created a standard form agreement that can be used by for Fixed term tenancy and Periodic tenancy residential tenancy agreements

A fixed term tenancy is where the tenancy agreement has a specific length agreed to by the tenant and landlord, e.g. 6 months. A periodic tenancy is where the tenancy agreement has no specific length agreed to, e.g. Month-to-month

The terms on the standard form agreement are not a complete list of the legal rules under South Australian law. Although the rules apply regardless of whether they are written in the agreement, tenants and landlords should try to include every term in the written document if possible.

You should take the time to read the terms and this guide before signing the agreement.

Is there a minimum or maximum length of agreement?

There is no minimum or maximum length of agreement under South Australian law.

If, however, you are renting a premises for less than 60 days and for a holiday, then you should not use a residential tenancy agreement.

Important things to remember in share accommodation tenancy agreements

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.

Can the terms of the Standard Form Agreement be changed?

The tenant and landlord can agree for additional terms to apply to the agreement in addition to the legal rules. Any additional terms cannot contradict or change the legal rules, and also cannot try to exclude any of the legal rules from applying to the agreement.

Some types of additional terms are not allowed under South Australia law. These include:

  • Requiring the carpet to be professionally cleaned by the tenant at the end of the tenancy
  • Allowing the landlord to change the mode of rent payment without the tenant’s consent
  • Giving the landlord access to the premises without notice
  • Penalties and extra charges for not complying with the terms of the agreement

The terms of the agreement can only be changed with the written consent of all people involved.

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 report the member immediately so we can investigate and take the appropriate action.

You might also be interested in

SA Bonds
SA Rental Payments
SA Holding Deposits

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.