While landlords do hold significant rights over their property,

Tenant rental rights you might not know you had

Tenant rental rights

Tenant rental rights you might not know you had

The relationship between tenants and property owners (or their agents) can sometimes be contentious, but with a clear understanding of rights and responsibilities on both sides, there's no need for conflict. Cooperation and communication foster a harmonious tenancy.

While landlords do hold significant rights over their property, tenants should recognize their rights as well. Your rented property is your home, and legislative protections ensure you have certain rights as a tenant. Understanding and asserting these rights contributes to a balanced landlord-tenant relationship.

Misunderstandings about responsibilities can lead to tension between tenants and landlords or agents. In the worst cases, disputes escalate to tribunals or court, damaging relationships and incurring significant costs for all parties involved. Clear communication and awareness of respective obligations can prevent such conflicts.

Misunderstandings about responsibilities can lead to tension between tenants and landlords or agents. In the worst cases, disputes escalate to tribunals or court, damaging relationships and incurring significant costs for all parties involved. Clear communication and awareness of respective obligations can prevent such conflicts.

Rent increases:

While your landlord or agent has the right to increase your rent, they must adhere to legislative rules to do so. The information below serves as a guide; ensure to verify specific requirements in your state or territory.

Prior to a rent increase, landlords must provide you with a notice period of 60 days (except in the NT, where it's 30 days). The notice should include clear, written details of the new rental amount and the effective date of the increase.

If you find a rental increase notice unfair, you have the right to negotiate with your landlord or agent. If negotiation proves unsuccessful, you can apply to the tribunal within 30 days of receiving the notice. While there is no official definition of 'excessive,' it's generally understood to be an increase significantly above the average in the area. In the ACT, any increase 20% more than the average is considered excessive.

Rules around sub-letting

If you're the head-tenant, you have the right to ask your landlord for permission to sublet, which involves personally renting out part of the home, such as a spare room. Written consent from the landlord is required for subletting. While most states and territories prohibit landlords from unreasonably refusing subletting proposals while you're residing in the premises, consent can be denied if you intend to sublet the entire tenancy or the entire premises.

When subletting a room, as the head-tenant, you assume the legal responsibilities of a landlord. This includes compliance with tenancy legislation related to matters such as bonds and payments, notices to vacate/terminations, maintenance and repairs, as well as ensuring safety and security.

As the head-tenant, you bear full responsibility for any loss, damage to the home, or rental arrears. This implies that you can be held accountable for any losses your landlord incurs due to the actions of your sub-tenant.

Suppose your sub-tenant causes damage to the property; your landlord can seek compensation from you, and you would need to recover the money from your sub-tenant. Additionally, as the head-tenant, you are obligated to pay the rent to your landlord, irrespective of any sublet arrangement. If your sub-tenant fails to pay, you must cover the rent or risk violating your tenancy agreement.

Evictions for breaching rental agreement

If you've violated the rules outlined in your rental agreement, your landlord may have grounds to terminate the lease. Landlords typically resort to this measure only as a last option. Reasons for termination may include:

Your rights differ based on the reason for termination, your location (state or territory), and the type of lease agreement (e.g., fixed-term or month-to-month). Nevertheless, your landlord or their agent must adhere to the procedures outlined in the relevant Residential Tenancies Act for a lawful eviction. This involves issuing notices, adhering to specific timeframes, and providing you an opportunity to rectify any issues (except in certain circumstances like illegal activities). Note: You have the right to appeal any eviction through your state/territory tribunal.

Return of bond

In the majority of states and territories, your bond is lodged with a bond authority. This money is held by the authority throughout your tenancy to cover unpaid rent or property damage. Upon the conclusion of your tenancy, your bond is returned in full unless the landlord files a claim against it.

The top three reasons why renters don’t get their bond back are

Your bond is your money, and your landlord or their agent cannot deduct from it without valid reasons.

Tenancy database blacklisting

Landlords and agents can screen tenants using a tenancy database, storing rental history information. In most states, they must disclose which databases they use during the application process. Under privacy laws, you have the right to access your database information, often with a fee involved.

In Australia, strict rules govern tenancy databases. You can only be listed if you owe more than the bond or a tribunal has ruled a lease termination due to a breach. Exercising your rights cannot lead to listing in most states, protecting tenants' privacy and rights.

landlords must inform tenants of any listing in tenancy databases. If you believe the listing is incorrect or outdated, you have the right to dispute it and request removal or correction.

Knowledge is key! Understanding your rights and responsibilities as a tenant can foster a harmonious relationship with your landlord, preventing disputes and ensuring a positive renting experience for all parties involved