Victoria Tenancy Agreements
All residential tenancies in VIC are covered by standard terms which cannot be altered. It’s advisable to use a written agreement and it’s the Landlords obligation to provide a copy to the tenant.
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 Victorian Tenancy Agreement can be downloaded and used for free from Consumer Affairs Victoria.
In Victoria, a Residential Tenancy Agreement is used for agreements between:
- Landlord and a tenant,
- Landlord and co-tenants, and
- 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’.
What is the purpose of the Tenancy Agreement?
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 Victoria, a residential tenancy agreement can be written or oral. If the agreement is in writing the Standard Form agreement provided by the Victorian Government must be used. Regardless of whether the agreement is written or oral, the same standard terms apply.
Landlords are required to give a copy of a written residential tenancy agreement to every tenant.
The Victoria Government has created a Standard Form Tenancy Agreement that must be used by for all residential tenancies
As well as providing space for the parties to fill out the relevant details, the standard form agreement also conveniently lists some of the terms that must apply under Victorian law to all agreements.
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 length of agreement.
If, however, the agreement is for a fixed term of 60 days or less, and immediately before the tenant moved in the landlord used the premises as their primary residence, and intends to resume living in the premises after the agreement ends, then the agreement cannot be a residential tenancy. This rule only applies if the agreement states that the landlord lived there before the agreement and intends to resume living there after the agreement.
The rules for residential tenancies do not apply when the agreement is for a fixed term of more than 5 years and the agreement does not have a term that allows the tenant or landlord to end or continue the 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 I change the Standard Form Agreement?
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 standard terms, and also cannot try to exclude any of the standard terms from applying to the agreement.
Some types of additional terms are NOT allowed under Victorian law. These include:
- A requirement that a person pay the costs or fees from preparation of a written agreement
- Terms regarded as ‘harsh’ or ‘unconscionable’ (parties must apply to VCAT)
- Any term that attempts to change or exclude the application of the legal rules 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.
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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.