By Tsarie Duthie
As a tenant you might feel like the system is not in your favour. Renting can be a confusing world of paperwork such as entry notices, lease agreements and maintenance reports. In Australia, we are lucky in that tenants have some significant rights and protections in the housing market. We have listed a few below to help you on your housing adventures.
Signing the lease
Tenants have a right to know what they’re getting into when signing the lease. Always read the lease agreement thoroughly before signing it. And remember, you are allowed to negotiate terms on the lease agreement (before it’s been signed). Property managers should be able to answer questions you may have about the terms of the lease.
Once the lease is signed, property managers are required to provide an Entry Condition Report (Form 1a). You should take this document seriously. Check the report is correct, note any previously unnoticed issues with the property, and take photos for evidence. Always take photos.
Tenants have a right to secure and clean homes in good repair. You should be provided with the keys for all lock. And the locks should actually function. If there are issues with security on the property, you should inform your property manager ASAP.
Routine inspections and privacy
Routine inspections are carried out so property managers and owners can make sure the property is being maintained by tenants. This type of inspection can be performed no more than once every three months, and property managers are required to send an Entry Notice to tenants at least seven days prior to the scheduled inspection.
There are many reasons that an Entry Notice may be issued, you can find a full list and the amount of notice property managers are required to give at:
You are allowed to be present for the inspection. Some property managers may take photos of the property during routine inspections. These photos cannot be used in any advertising without tenants’ permission. However, they may be used to inform landlords of repairs or the general state of the property.
Maintenance to ensure liable conditions
As a tenant, you have the right to live in a habitable property. If you notice something that requires maintenance, it is best to notify the property manager in writing. It is up to the property manager to ensure that the property remains habitable, this means ensuring that emergency and routine repairs are carried out within a reasonable time of being notified.
You have the right to be treated with respect and courtesy. We have all heard horror stories of tenants being treated badly. Knowing your rights as a tenant is the first step to ensuring that you can live comfortably and safely. You are entitled to quiet enjoyment in your home.
If you need more specific advice, you can contact the Residential Tenancies Authority or Tenants Queensland for advice and information about renting in Queensland.