Rental agreements

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Residential rental (or lease) agreements are either periodic or fixed-term.

All written tenancy agreements must be done using the Residential tenancy agreement (Form 1AA). Whether the agreement is written or verbal, a tenant must also be given the 'Information for tenant' sheet.

If the agreement is in writing, the lessor must give the tenant a copy of the agreement. A tenant should also get another copy when it is signed by the lessor/property manager and tenant/s within 14 days of it being signed.

The lessor cannot make a residential tenancy agreement containing terms or conditions which contract out of the Residential Tenancies Act 1987 (the Act). A tenant and lessor can agree to have clauses added as long as these don’t change the rights and obligations under the Act.

Periodic tenancy

A periodic tenancy has no pre-determined finish date. It continues on with the same terms and conditions until either you or the lessor give the appropriate notice to end it.

Fixed-term tenancy

A fixed term tenancy is an agreement which allows you to rent the premises for a set period with a specific start and finish date. It provides more certainty and security for both you and the lessor. Although fixed-term tenancy agreements have expiry dates, the agreement will not automatically terminate on the end date unless either you or the lessor/property manager gives 30 days’ notice of intention NOT to renew the agreement.

What the tenant must be given

At the start of a tenancy the tenant must be given the following by the lessor:

Property condition report

The lessor must provide the tenant with two copies of a property condition report within seven days of the tenant moving in. The report must contain at least the items listed in the proforma report.

It is recommend for tenants to:

  • check the report carefully,
  • change anything they think is not correct on both copies,
  • keep a copy of the changes made, and
  • send a copy back within seven days of receiving it. If the tenant does not return the report within this time, it is considered the tenant has agreed with the one they were given.

When a tenant leaves the property, the lessor must give them another updated report completed at the final inspection within 14 days. A tenant must be given a reasonable opportunity to be present at the final inspection.

Forms

The Act sets forms and notices which must be used (prescribed) and others which can help with any issues such as an application to rent and breach notices.

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