You have a lease, right? Well all of your rights and responsibilities are listed there but countless times I’ve signed up new leases and tenants just want to sign and get their keys.
I get it, you’re about to embark on several painful hours of moving and unpacking.
This can mean some nasty surprises along the way, such as water usage bills and the cost of breaking a lease. So, any Property Manager would highlight to a new tenant what they have to know and must read, but I’m going to try to simplify and outline what your BASIC rights and responsibilities are here. You still need to read your lease though and before signing it.
Not one to play around with, this responsibility stands regardless of any issues being unaddressed.
There are other avenues to have any complaints heard and addressed but not paying rent leaves you vulnerable to having your tenancy terminated.
Breaking your Lease
Circumstances change and so is the legislation surrounding this, there are a couple of options for breaking leases within the agreement so know which one you are agreeing too before signing as that will apply despite pending legislation changes. Just know what you’re up for if you do need to move before the Fixed Term of your Lease expires.
A Right to Quiet Enjoyment of the Premises
Noise complaints, unapproved access to your home and other instances where you’re being disturbed are well documented and covered within your lease agreement. You have a right to enjoy the property peacefully and quietly. Access to the property should be approved by you in most instances.
Neighbours have the same right so you in turn must insure you’re not impeding on anyone’s else’s rights.
A Property that is in a good state of repair
Repairs and maintenance, especially of an urgent nature, need to be acknowledged and attended to within reasonable time frames. These timeframes are well documented within your lease.
Make sure you report any issues in writing to your agent or owner so it’s well documented. Reporting repairs and issues also protects you as having fulfilled your obligation to notify your agent or owner so that they can then make arrangements. Get to know what’s classed as urgent and what isn’t and ensure you’re provided with contacts of preferred Emergency tradespeople.
Specific Building By-Laws
Each building has its own set of By-Laws and you need to be provided with these at the time of signing the lease so you know what to comply with.
A Condition Report
You must be provided with an In-going Condition Report at the time of your Lease Commencing, not after it’s commenced. This report should list the areas within the property and list the condition of fixtures within that area.
If you don’t complete a copy of the report within 7 days of your lease commencing, agree or disagree and make additional comments than the original report handed to you will be taken as being agreed to.
“Completing and submitting this report within the 7 days is the first thing you can do to ensure you get your bond back at the end of your tenancy.”
Complaint Handling & Resolution
Every tenant has a right to have their complaints acknowledged and addressed, you can go straight to the Principal of any agency with your complaints, lodge a complaint with the office of fair trading who will investigate the issue, there are tenancy advocacy services as well as lodging an application to the tribunal for a hearing of your matter.
First up though, speak to the agent or owner about your issue and document it, if all else fails you have other avenues.
Renewing a Lease
When your lease is coming up to expire, ideally, you’ll be offered a new lease, if not then reach out and request a new lease if it’s your preference to have some ongoing certainty. Neither party is obligated to renew the lease but that doesn’t mean you need to vacate and can stay on indefinitely.
So in summary:
- Always pay rent on time
- Breaking your lease, Read your lease and stay tuned for legislation changes
- You have a right to peace and enjoyment of the premises, and you need to allow that of others as well
- Property should be in a good state of repair, the onus is on you to report issues as they arise
- Get to know your building By-Laws if you’re in a Strata Plan (Apartment complexes)
- There are several avenues to get your complaints, issues heard or advice
- Ask about renewing your lease even if it hasn’t been offered if you want the certainty
Lastly, you deserve (and have a right to) a reasonably responsive and courteous service so don’t settle for less.
If you need advice feel free to reach out, if for some reason I can’t answer your query then I can point you in the right direction.
Thanks for reading and if you have some left over downtime? Read your Lease ?