19 Apr What is a tenancy agreement?
What is a tenancy agreement? Why is it an important document and what should it include? In this article our expert property manager provides answers to these and other frequently asked questions about tenancy agreements.
If you are successful in your application to rent a property, the property manager who represents the landlord of the property (or the landlord themselves) will usually ask you to sign a lease, also known as a residential tenancy agreement or a tenancy agreement, before you are allowed to move into the property.
What’s so important about my tenancy agreement?
The tenancy agreement is a legal contract between the tenant and their landlord or the landlord’s property manager. It sets out all the key legal terms and conditions of the agreement with regard to the tenant’s lease of the property. The tenancy agreement, including all its terms and conditions, is also subject to the stipulations of the Residential Tenancies Act 1986.
What form should my tenancy agreement take?
Every tenancy agreement must be in writing, and the landlord or his property manager must give the tenant a copy of the agreement before the tenancy begins. However, even if a tenancy agreement isn’t in writing, the rights and obligations of tenants and landlords according to the stipulations of the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 still apply.
If you’re a prospective tenant it’s very important to thoroughly read your tenancy agreement before you sign it – and if you don’t understand any of the terms and conditions in the agreement, get professional advice before you sign the document.
What type of tenancy agreements are there?
There are two common types of residential property leases or tenancy agreements, namely a fixed-term tenancy agreement and a periodic tenancy agreement.
A fixed-term tenancy agreement is for a lease of a property for a set period of time, usually six or 12 months. When the fixed-term expires, the tenant can either sign a new fixed-term lease or the lease can roll over automatically into a periodic lease. If a lease rolls over to a periodic lease, the tenant does not sign a new tenancy agreement. However, the terms and conditions of the original agreement still apply.
A periodic lease has no fixed term and runs indefinitely on a week-by-week or month-by-month basis until either party gives notice to end the tenancy. While a tenant is required to give 21 days’ notice to end a periodic tenancy, a landlord must give 90 days, except in exceptional situations, for example, the landlord wants to move into his property himself. In such a case the landlord only needs to give the tenant 42 days’ notice of termination of the tenancy.
What should be included in my tenancy agreement?
All tenancy agreements have to contain certain basic information, such as:
- The names and contact details of all parties involved in the tenancy agreement
- The physical address of the property that is being rented
- Whether the tenancy is a fixed-term or periodic tenancy
- The date the tenancy agreement is signed
- The start date of the tenancy and, in the case of a fixed-term tenancy, also the end date of the tenancy
- The amount of rent to be paid, how frequently it has to be paid and to whom it has to be paid
- The bond amount that has to be paid
- How many people can reside at the property
- A list of any fixtures or chattels that come with the property
The tenancy agreement can also include various other obligations or stipulations for the tenant and/or landlord that the parties have agreed to – as long as these comply with the stipulations of the Residential Tenancies Act 1986.
Also, as from 1 July 2016, all tenancy agreements need to include information about what insulation is present in the ceilings, floors or walls of the rental property.
Check out our website for more about what you should know before you make an application for a tenancy agreement.
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