Victoria Tenant's Rights and Obligations
Tenants have a number of rights owed to them by the landlord during the tenancy. They also have various obligations they must fulfil. This page helps both landlords and tenants understand their roles during the tenancy.
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?
What are the tenant’s obligations?
Tenants have a number of obligations that they must fulfil during the tenancy. It is important for tenants meet these obligations to avoid potentially having to pay compensation to the landlord, or the tenancy agreement being terminated.
Must not use premises for illegal purpose
The rented premises must not be used for an illegal purpose. Examples of an illegal purpose include: cultivating, storing or hiding illegal drugs, storing or hiding stolen goods, or operating as an illegal brothel or casino
Must not cause interference to neighbour or any kind of nuisance
The tenant must not use any part of the premises to interfere with the peace comfort and privacy of any neighbours. A neighbour is any person who the tenant would reasonably consider to be affected by the behaviour, and can extend beyond people just living next door. An example of interference would be blocking access to the neighbour’s house or
The tenant must also not cause any nuisance. Examples of nuisances can include excessive noise, large amounts of water leaving premises, using odorous paints or chemicals, violence, unpleasant smells, rubbish, car parking, criminal activity, harassing neighbours, or other offensive behaviour.
Must not damage the premises or common areas
The tenant must take care not to damage the rented premises or common areas that come with it. Damage can be to any part of the premises or the various inclusions. It is for the landlord to prove that the tenant caused any damage.
Must notify landlord of any damage to premises
When the tenant becomes aware of any damage to the premises, they must notify the landlord as soon as possible. The tenant should specify the nature and cause of the damage if known.
Must keep the premises clean
The tenant must keep the premises reasonably clean throughout the tenancy. This generally means that the tenant should aim to keep the rented premises in the same or a better state of cleanliness than it was at the start of the tenancy. Problems about cleanliness often arise regarding mould and who is responsible for it. The general answer is that if the tenant’s actions have caused the mould, then they will be responsible, but if the mould is caused by a structural problem at the premises then the landlord is responsible.
What rights does the tenant have?
Right to quiet enjoyment of the premises
The tenant has the right to quiet enjoyment of the rented premises without interference or interruption by the landlord. This means that the landlord is under an obligation not to do anything or to allow anything to happen which may interfere with the reasonable peace, comfort or privacy of the tenant during the tenancy.
There is no set list of things that are interferences with quiet enjoyment. However, there are a number of common examples where the landlord is infringing on the rights of the tenant:
- attempting to evict a tenant when not allowed to do so
- the landlord entering the premises when not allowed to do so
- the landlord retaining or using part of the premises contrary to the tenancy agreement
- excessive noise
- excessive dust
- interference by the landlord with facilities provided with the tenancy
- failing to carry out repairs when required to do so
- interfering with the tenant’s access to the rented premises
- overcrowding of the rented premises caused by the landlord
In share accommodation where the landlord lives in the same property, respecting the tenant’s right to quiet enjoyment is particularly important. The landlord should understand that the tenant has the right to use rented premises without unreasonable or unnecessary disturbances. The best way to avoid any problems arising is for the landlord and tenant to discuss at the beginning of the tenancy how the share accommodation will work in practice.
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.