Due to the high cost implications, home ownership is still a pipe dream for many Australians. The only option left to get a decent roof over many people’s heads is through renting. But even renting comes with its set of challenges including the high rents and the risk of being thrown out a few months or years down the line. Renting does not always confer a sense of security in many house occupiers partly because many are not even aware of their rights as tenants.
Renters face a lot of pressure in an increasingly costly property market where many are getting priced out. Knowing your rights is a step in the right direction to ensuring you have a smooth and pain-free stay in your new premises. Here is a look at some of the basic rights and responsibilities that you have as a tenant in Australia
The Right to a Quiet Enjoyment
All tenants have the right to a quiet enjoyment of the property they are renting. That means freedom from constant pestering by your landlord as well as a right to privacy and full use of the property that you are renting. The laws on the right to enjoyment however vary from one state to another. The laws regulate even the frequency with which a landlord can have property inspections in Melbourne. Check your state’s Residential Tenancies Act for information on the landlord’s right to entry in the property you are renting.
The Right to a Reasonable Notice
The Right to Reasonable Notice specifies the duration within which the landlord should provide a notice before visiting the property you are renting. In Australia, a landlord is obliged to provide at least a 24-hour written notice before they enter the property. There are also specified timeframes within which the landlord or agent can visit the property. They can’t walk in anytime they feel like. There are various instances in which a landlord may be allowed to visit your property. These include the following:
- When they need to inspect the property
- When they need to perform a valuation of the property with the aim of selling it.
- When they are planning to perform any other function in the property that is in line with the specifications in your rental agreement.
The Landlords Responsibility for Repairs
The landlord has a responsibility to carry out regular repairs on the property in order to ensure that it is in good shape and is livable. However, the approach might vary from one state or territory to another. Normally, a request must be lodged by the tenant and the landlord is allowed a specified amount of time to respond and perform the required repairs. For urgent issues such as burst water pipes or plumbing issues, the landlord is required to respond to the request immediately. For emergencies, you may also carry out the repairs yourself up to a certain amount which is later refunded by the landlord.
Increasing the Rent
The rent for your property cannot be increased if you are staying on a fixed-term tenancy agreement until the term ends or based on the conditions that are specified in the rental agreement. After the term of the agreement has elapsed, the landlord can increase the rent but they must give you advance notice.
The various states in Australia also impose limits on the amount or rate and the frequency with which the rent can be increased. In some states, the landlord should give as much as a 60-day notice before increasing the rent. In some states, restrictions are placed on the frequency with which the landlord can increase the rent.
In Australia, the bond payment is treated the same as the security deposit and the landlord is not permitted to use it casually as they wish. It should be used in footing the cost of repairs in the property or to cater for unpaid rent. The full bond should be refunded to you at the end of the tenancy.