A tenancy agreement, also known as a lease agreement, is a legal imperative. It should be drafted by the landlord, preferably using the help of a real estate attorney or agent, and presented to the tenant. The tenancy agreement is a legally binding contract between the landlord and the tenant laying out all the terms or obligations that both parties must adhere to.
There are many types of tenancy agreements. A general tenancy agreement applies to houses, units, townhouses and houseboats. A moveable dwelling agreement applies to mobile homes, caravans and caravan sites. A rooming accommodation agreement applies to renting one or multiple rooms but sharing common rooms and other facilities with fellow tenants.
A tenancy agreement must include the basic details of both parties, including name and address, the start and end dates of the agreement, details illustrating how the rent must be paid and when, the standard term laying out what the tenant and the landlord are supposed to take care or what they should do and shouldn’t do, special terms or conditions that may have been agreed upon by both parties such as pets being allowed or not; as well as the period or term of the tenancy agreement along with a clause of renewal or nonrenewal. Tenancy agreements can be for a fixed term, which could be six, nine or twelve months. It could be a periodic agreement for an indefinite period or a very short term contract for a few weeks or days.
A tenancy agreement must comply with the Residential Tenancies Act 2010. The Act clearly states the rights and obligations of tenants and landlords. The governing authority is the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) which attends to disputes. Landlords must explain the Act to their tenants and tenants should seek a copy of the regulation. The terms and conditions of the tenancy agreement must cover all the provisions of the Tenancies Act, for instance the rights of the tenant to be provided with a copy of the tenancy agreement, a checklist of the Fair-Trading provisions, the right to get the receipts for rents paid, to be given prior notice in case of reviewing of rents or any condition of the agreement and to have privacy, comfort and peace at the rented property among others.
Beyond the expected security, timely maintenance or repairs, fair treatment or non-discrimination, cordial relation with the landlord and the duties of the landlord being attended to, there are also the duties of the tenant. The Tenancies Act sheds light on the obligations of tenants including paying rent within the stipulated time every month or fortnight, caring for the property and the premises, to pay for damages caused by the tenants or their guests, to notify the landlord if something needs repair maintenance, to not change anything about the property that has not been permitted by the landlord and others.
Top Tip: Be sure that you prepare the lease, both parties sign, and that you keep one copy for yourself.