Do you know your rental law?


Regardless of where a rental property is located in Australia, if there’s a formal rental agreement in place that property is protected by law.

And that law is designed to look after both rental occupiers and owners to ensure their rights are maintained and their responsibilities are met.

So, let’s look into some of the ways the law applies to rental agreements and how it protects you.

Different but the same

Rental law is managed at a state level, meaning each state and territory has their own legislation when it comes to rights and responsibilities of renting a property.

That said, many of these laws look to protect the same things.

They are there to ensure the renter has a right to peace and privacy while living there, that the property remains free of damage and liveable, and that rent is paid on time.

So let’s look at a couple of laws and how they protect your rights.

A renter’s right to peace and quiet enjoyment

In most of the legal acts that relate to renting, there is an enforceable right for the renter to enjoy the property in peace and privacy.

That means they are free to enjoy the property and use it as their home, without feeling the property owner, property manager or tradespeople could turn up at any minute.

This privacy and peace is managed through entry notices which must be provided before the property is inspected, repairs are made or maintenance is carried out.

These notices must be issued in advance, but the length of advance notice time depends on the state, the reason for the visit and the urgency.

Certainty about tenure and payments

The law also looks to offer renters certainty and security about how long they can live at a property and what they can expect to pay each week.

This is covered in the form of the fixed-term rental agreement, which is a legally binding document that says you can live at a property for a certain amount of time and pay a set amount of rent each week.

Fixed-term agreements are usually six or 12 months, but they can occasionally be shorter and longer.

There are also occasions when an agreement might be broken or terminated.

But terminations usually relate to either the owner or renter doing the wrong thing, while breaking the agreement comes with conditions, lengthy notice periods and extra expenses.

Certainty for the rental owner

This same part of the agreement also offers certainty and security for the rental owner.

They now have a legally binding document which tells them how long the renter will live there and how much rent they can expect to receive each week, minus any required outgoings like maintenance and repairs.

And if those conditions are not met, for example the renter fails to pay their rent on time, that agreement has been breached and action can be taken.

Safety and security

The law also looks to ensure the property is kept safe and secure and is maintained to a certain standard.

 

This means repairs must be undertaken in a timely manner. Some are even classed as emergency repairs which must be done to ensure the property is liveable.

 

Urgent or emergency repairs relate to things like hot water, electricity faults, and anything that would deem the property unsafe or unlivable.

 

Protecting the property

A lot of rental law is also about protecting the property and maintaining its value.

It considers what the property was like when the renter moved in and ensures the property is returned in the same condition at the end of the agreement.

This requirement is also covered by the bond, which a renter pays at the outset of an agreement and is returned to them at the end providing there is no outstanding rent or damage to the property.

It pays to have a legal expert

These are just some of the ways that rental law applies across Australia, and as we mentioned they can vary from state to state.

However, a property manager is the trusted expert with a deep insight into that law and the rights and obligations of each party in the rental process.

That’s why it pays to have a property manager in your corner when it comes to renting a home.

How we can help

Our experienced property managers pride themselves on establishing great relationships with both rental occupiers and owners.

We manage every property as if it were our own and you can learn more about our property management services here.

Alternatively, if you are looking to rent a property, you can view the properties we currently have available here.