Lease agreements – what are your rights?
When you rent a property or space – whether it be residential or commercial purpose – you are required to sign a lease.
A lease agreement or lease document (also known as a tenancy agreement) is a written agreement between you and the property owner. Unlike the purchase of a house, tenancy agreements have no cooling off period. Therefore, it is important that you do not sign the lease until you have read and understood the terms and conditions of your lease and what is expected of you as a tenant.
Why do we need a lease agreement?
The two primary purposes of a lease agreement are:
- Allowing for the landlord and tenant to list the details of the tenancy, such as names of the parties, the length of the agreement, amount of the rent and how any payments are to be made; and
- Including the terms and conditions of the tenancy such as rent, the period of tenancy, responsibility for bills and maintenance, access for landlords, and termination.
What details can you expect to find in your lease agreement?
- Agreed rent per month and mode of payment;
- Tenancy start and end dates, and the process for ending the tenancy early;
- Break clause;
- Process for periodic rent review;
- Deposit amount and how it will be protected, along with details of when the deposit can be fully or partly withheld;
- Property management;
- An outline of the bills you are responsible for; and
- Whether or not pets are allowed.
What are your rights and responsibilities as a tenant?
Tenants have a number of rights once they sign a lease agreement including the right to quiet enjoyment of the premises. However, as a tenant, you’re also expected to keep the property clean and notify your landlord of any damage. Here are a few tips for avoiding issues during your tenancy:
- pay your rent on time
- take good care of the property
- don’t disturb the peace, comfort or privacy of your neighbours
- speak with your landlord/agent if you have any concerns with your tenancy, including changing who will be living with you
- keep all documents about the tenancy (e.g. entry condition report, tenancy agreement, letters and receipts) together in a safe place.
You cannot be charged for anything other than the bond and rent at the start of your lease; this includes not being charged for the cost of preparing your lease, the initial cost providing keys or any security devices for the property.
What you should receive when starting a lease?
When you sign the lease of your new rental property, you should be given:
- A copy of the new tenant checklist
- Keys and security devices
- Two copies of the condition report
- A copy of your lease
- A receipt for your bond
- A Bond Lodgement form for you to sign
More information on lease agreements and other resources
If you are still unsure about a part of the lease, you can also contact:
- Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) on 1300 366 311
- Legal aid
- Queensland Statewide Tenant Advice and Referral Service on 1300 744 623.
- Queensland Fair Trading