Common renting terms

A glossary for residential tenancies

Assign the premises: To transfer rights to occupy the premises and associated responsibilities to another person.

Bond: Money paid by the tenant and held by the Bond Administrator as security against damage to the premises.

Breach of agreement: The breaking of a term or condition of the tenancy agreement. In other words, doing something the agreement or the standard terms of the Act says the lessor or tenant should not do or, failing to do something the agreement or standard terms of the Act requires the lessor or tenant to do.

Common area: an area or belongings which are accessible to, or provided for the common use of, tenants.

Counting days: The time for notices which includes additional days for mailing and the exclusion of the first and last days of the notice period.

Deposit: See 'bond'.

Fair wear and tear: General terms for anything that occurs through ordinary use. Wilful and intentional damage, or negligence, is not fair wear and tear.

Fixed-term tenancy: A residential tenancy agreement that says the tenant will rent and the landlord will rent out the property for a set period of time.

Head tenant: A tenant who sub-lets to a third person (who is known as a 'sub tenant').

Landlord: See 'lessor'.

Lessor: A person who grants the right to occupy the property and who is entitled to collect rent. This can be the owner or their agent, and in some circumstances the ‘head tenant’.

Mortgagee: A bank or moneylender.

Option fee: A fee charged to the prospective tenant while their application is being considered. Generally, option fees are capped at $50 or $100 (depending on the rent charged for the property) and must be returned to the tenant as soon as possible, and at the latest within seven days, of the decision to refuse the application.

Periodic tenancy: A residential tenancy agreement that doesn't specify an end date to the tenancy.

Premises: A general term for a residence. It can mean a house, duplex, unit, flat, apartment or caravan site, caravan or park home and can include the land on which the premises are situated. This will also include, where applicable, common areas and chattels within a common area.

Prescribed form: The approved, standard form or document a lessor must use.

Property: In relation to rental properties, this includes the building, garden and any sheds etc.

Property condition report: A list of the contents and their condition, as well as the condition of the fixed parts of the property such as walls, ceilings and doors. Property condition reports must be completed when a tenant moves into and out of a rental property. The minimum content of the report is prescribed.

Quiet enjoyment: The right of the tenant to be able to occupy, use and enjoy the premises in reasonable privacy and without undue interference.

Rent: The money the tenant pays the lessor for the right to live in the premises.

Security bond: See 'Bond'.

Sub-let: A rental agreement where the tenant rents out all or a part of the premises to another person. See ‘Head tenant’

Sub tenant: The tenant in a sub-let arrangement, who pays rent to the 'head tenant'. See ‘Sub-let’.

Tenancy agreement: The terms and conditions of occupying the premises. They can be verbal or in writing. From 1 July  2013, all written tenancy agreements must be in the prescribed form.

Tenancy bond: See 'Bond'.

Tenant: The person who rents accommodation from the lessor.

Termination of a tenancy: When the lessor, the tenant or the court ends a tenancy by:

  1. agreement; or
  2. the provisions of the Residential Tenancies Act 1987; or
  3. a court order.

Last modified: