Free Residential Tenancy Agreement & Lease Agreement Template PDF
If you’re renting in Australia and are looking for more information about signing a Residential Tenancy Agreement, you've come to the right place. In this guide, we detail all you need to know about signing a lease agreement or a residential tenancy agreement for your new home. Read on to learn which type of rental agreement is right for you, what should be included, and which party is responsible for what.
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Residential Tenancy Agreement Vs. Lease Agreement
What is the difference between a Residental Tenancy Agreement & a Lease Agreement?
Well, we are glad you asked!
A Residential Tenancy Agreement is often referred to as a lease agreement, and while they are quite similar, there are a few differences between the two.
Both a Residential Tenancy Agreement and a lease agreement are legally binding written agreements between a tenant or resident of a property and a property manager or landlord that act as a rental agreement.
The major difference between these two types of rental agreement is that a lease agreement tends to be set for a longer period of time and includes very specific stipulations and details of what a party can and cannot do, while a Residential Tenancy Agreement can be for any specified period of time and tends to have fewer processes and procedures involved.
Different Types of Lease Agreements
As we mentioned before, lease agreements tend to be for longer periods of time than a Residential Tenancy Agreement.
However, a lease agreement can come in different lengths of tenancy, and therefore, there are different types you might decide to sign.
|Type of lease agreements||Definition|
|Fixed-term lease||A standard lease with a set, and agreed upon, start and end date to the tenancy. Ending the fixed-term agreement early might incur a financial penalty.|
|Long fixed-term lease||Like a standard, fixed-term lease but with more flexibility in the terms of the lease, including rent increase, rental bond “top-ups”, and modifications to the property over a longer period of time.|
|Periodic lease||A tenancy agreement on a rolling basis, with no fixed end date. Rather, the terms of the lease apply on a month-to-month basis, and either the tenant or owner/property manager can end the agreement with one month’s notice.|
|Rent to buy||Unlike other tenancy agreements, a rent-to-buy or rent-to-own agreements include the ability for the tenant to purchase their home at an agreed-upon price at the end of the tenancy.|
Therefore, a lease agreement is a form of tenancy agreement. However, you can also sign a simple Residential Tenancy Agreement for any specified time without it being considered a lease.
Now that you know the differences between a lease agreement and a tenancy agreement, it's time to dig in and find out what you need to look for when signing a lease or signing a Residential Tenancy Agreement.
What Is Included in a Residential Tenancy Agreement?
All Residential Tenancy Agreements need to have the same basic information, regardless of the type of lease and state or territory the property is located in.
By making sure your lease agreement has all of the correct information included, you will also be sparing yourself from potential future problems that could arise if important information is left out. Therefore, before you sign a lease agreement or a Residential Tenancy Agreement, you will want to make sure it includes the following information.
A Residential Tenancy Agreement includes:
- The name and address of the tenant
- The name of the landlord/owner/property manager
- The type and terms of the lease (if it’s a short or long term fixed-agreement it will state the start and end dates of the tenancy, if it’s a periodic lease then it will state that the lease is periodic)
- The amount of rent, how often rent should be paid, and how the tenant will pay it
- Standard terms: What the tenant/owner can and cannot do
- Notification of any requirements for renters insurance
- Terms for breaking the lease or leaving early
- Terms for late payments or lack of payment
- Special terms agreed upon in advance such as pets, smoking, parking, or guests
Renting with your pet? If you want to rent a home in Australia with a four-legged friend, you will need to account for that in your rental costs and get a written agreement from your property manager. Western Australia is the only Australian state that legally allows for the payment of a pet bond, which is usually a one-off fee of $260.
Responsibilities When Preparing a Lease Agreement
Now that you know what needs to be included in a Residential TenancyAgreement and what type of rental agreement you will be signing, let's dive into the topic of responsibilities pertaining to each party.
In this section, we will walk you through what your responsibilities are as a tenant and what responsibilities your landlord or property agent should be dealing with.
Landlord & Agent Responsibilities
When preparing your lease agreement, your landlord or rental agent should be responsible for the following:
- Making sure both parties are completely informed of their rights and obligations
- Taking care of all the paperwork and supplying the correct forms
- Ensuring all the forms are properly signed & dated
- Paying for all the costs associated with preparing the tenancy agreement
- Ensuring that the property is in an acceptable state, and ready for the tenant on the agreed-upon start date.
- (Some agents may handle setting up your utilities)
If this is your first time moving or you are in the process of signing a Residential Tenancy Agreement and have not been helped with the above tasks, we recommend enquiring with your landlord or rental agency before agreeing to sign any papers (this does not include your rental application).
As a tenant, your greatest responsibility is to keep your copy of the Residential Tenancy Agreement, Property Condition Report, bond lodgement forms, and any other relevant documents somewhere safe and easily accessible.
Apart from being vital documents should any unforeseen disputes arise, you’ll be better off having these documents when your lease agreement comes to an end to ensure a simple lease-renewal process.
Signing a Residential Tenancy Agreement
Before signing your lease agreement, you’ll first be given a Property Condition Report.
This Property Condition Report will note any damage, repair, and the general physical condition of the property. Once you receive this report, it’s important to take the time to inspect the property yourself for any discrepancies between it and your own inspection. If there is any further repair or maintenance needed, ensure they’re added to your tenancy agreement with a specific time frame for the issues to be fixed.
Once you and the property manager agree upon the Residential Tenancy Agreement to be signed, you will legally need to be given a signed copy. In cases of dispute, or other issues, your signed agreement will act as a reference to come to a resolution, so make sure you hold onto your copy and any other relevant documents.
Breaking a Lease Agreement
If you’re on a fixed-term lease, your Residential Tenancy Agreement is legally binding and, if broken, might result in financial penalties.
Depending on the situation surrounding your termination of the lease agreement (whether it’s a fixed or periodic lease, if you’re breaking the agreement early or it’s the end of the agreement term, the state you live in etc), you will have a minimum amount of days you can give notice you’re leaving the property. It’s best to consult your state’s housing laws to find your specific situation and notice period.
Notice to Terminate a Residential Tenancy Agreement by the Tenant
Once you have decided to terminate your Residential Tenancy Agreement, you will need to give notice in writing to your landlord or property agent of your intention to vacate the property.
The notice to terminate tenancy agreement by the tenant should include:
- The address of the property
- The day the tenancy agreement is to be terminated and the date the tenant will move out
- The reason (if applicable) for the termination
- Signed & dated by the party giving notice (tenant or owner)
The termination notice will serve as the legal document of reference to show that you have decided to leave the property.
It will also give a clear date for establishing whether or not you are entitled to have your rental bond returned to you in accordance with the terms and conditions agreed upon when you signed your lease agreement. For this, we recommend first taking a look at your rental agreement to see what the contract stipulates before deciding to send your termination notice and moving house.
Getting Your Rental Bond Back After Breaking a Lease Agreement
When you leave the rented property, it’s best to ensure it is as clean as possible and in a good state of repair.
While the property manager cannot keep your rental bond without just cause, some reasons a property manager might keep your rental bond include:
- Any debt including unpaid rent or energy bills
- The lease was broken early and compensation has not been paid
- The tenant has not returned all copies of the keys, so the locks needed to be changed
- Damage to the property, the property was not left in a reasonably clean condition, or anything outside of the usual wear and tear
Don't forget to notify your landlord or rental agent of your change of address to ensure they can send you the funds.
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