Get leased!

tenancy agreements 101

by Domain Property Agents, June  24, 2017 



What is a tenancy agreement?


A tenancy agreement (also called a lease) is a contract between a tenant and a landlord.  In some states and territories, an agreement can be oral or written, however, in NSW it is important to sign a new tenancy agreement at the start of each lease.


The agreement gives rights to both the tenant and the landlord as well as certain obligations, setting out the terms and conditions of the lease.  


I’m the tenant


As a tenant many of your rights are covered in the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 (‘the Act’). In most cases, the Act covers people with private rental agreements, as well as individuals in social housing, or who rent a home in a residential park.


It also doesn’t cover a number of people and living situations so it is best to seek independent legal advice if you have any concerns or questions about your unique situation.


While your agent isn’t in a position to offer you legal advice, they can help you navigate a number of online resources such as information from the Department of NSW Fair Trading, Law Access NSW, and your local Tenants Advice and Advocacy service.


I’m the landlord


If you’ve made the decision to lease out your property, there are a number of things you may want to consider.


The first is the rental period; how long do you want to lease the property for? Most tenancy agreements are for six or 12-month fixed terms with an agreed end date, however, some owners may decide on a periodic agreement. (Periodic agreements often follow on from a fixed term contract.)


Whichever option you choose, it’s important to factor in things like rent increases and tenancy terminations, so that both you and the tenant are clear on what to expect - it’s also a good idea to discuss your expectations with your real estate agent so they can offer you personalised advice.


Problem-free renting


In most cases, renting is a positive experience for both the tenant and the landlord. However, there are times when issues may come up and in these cases it’s best to be prepared.


  • Take photos of the property and date stamp them so you have a visual record of its condition. (This applies to both tenants and landlords.)
  • Keep up-to-date records. Some ideas including filing emails so you can find them easily, having a copy of your lease, rental bond number and any letters on hand. For tenants, it’s always a good idea to you keep a diary and take notes of any phone conversations you have with the landlord or real estate agent.
  • Home and contents insurance.
  • Make sure expectations around maintenance, especially regarding a pool, is clearly outlined and agreed to before signing a lease.
  • Pay your rent on time. This is probably the easiest thing tenants can do to avoid any rent problems.


If you are a tenant or a landlord and you have any questions about your tenancy agreement, the first step to clarifying or resolving an issue is to ask your real estate manager for advice.


Real estate managers deal with these types of issues on a daily basis and can be a great source of information. They can also point you in the right direction if you have a more specific enquiry.





General disclaimer: The information contained in website is general information only and does not constitute legal, financial or compliance advice. As the laws relating to tenancy laws may have changed we recommend you check with the relevant State or Territory government department. We also recommend that you obtain your own independent legal advice about matters relating to landlord obligations, tenant rights and any legal disputes you may have with a tenant(s).