Rent applications and option fees

The lessor can ask a prospective tenant to complete an application form to help them assess the suitability of a tenant.

A lessor can also look in a tenancy database. If they do they must let the prospective tenant know, in writing, which database they use and if they find any information.

A lessor should treat rental applicants and tenants equally and fairly when vetting their suitability to commence or renew a tenancy at a property.  You may wish to review the Department’s joint publication with the Equal Opportunity Commission Accommodating everyone - Know your rights as property owner or agent to understand your rights and obligations.

Option fee

A tenant can also be asked to pay an ‘option fee’. An option fee is charged to the prospective tenant while their application is being considered and are capped at $50 or $100 (depending on the rent and location of the property as below).

Option fee table based on location
Weekly Rent of the Property Location of the Property
  Above 26th parallel* Below 26th parallel*
$0 to $500 $50 maximum $50 maximum
More than $500 and less than $1200 $100 maximum $100 maximum
$1200 or more $100 maximum $1200 maximum

* Note: The town of Denham in Shark is just north of the 26th parallel.

If the application is successful, the option fee paid must be deducted from the first rent payment or the money returned to the tenant. If the applicant is not offered the property, the option fee MUST be refunded to them by cash or electronic transfer as soon as possible, and at the latest within 7 days of the application being refused.

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