An important aspect of choosing the right rental property is ensuring your tenancy agreement has the correct terms. This is because a lease is a legal document between you and your landlord in exchange for renting your dream property. So, here are a few things that you should consider before signing the dotted line.
Types of tenancy agreements
There are two main types of agreements:
1. Fixed term agreement
A fixed-term agreement allows you to stay for a specified period of time, usually 6 or 12 months. During this time, the terms of the lease provide security for you and the landlord. This is because penalties apply for breaking the contract before it ends. At the end of the agreement, you may decide to renew or consider moving to another property after providing notice.
2. Periodic Agreement
A periodic or continuing agreement is where there is no specific end date. This usually begins once the initial fixed-term agreement ends or is not renewed. It is unlikely that you will begin a tenancy with a periodic agreement. Both the landlord and tenant must abide by the original agreement and the agreement may end at any time without penalties. Also, make sure you understand that the rental price may increase during this time, and if the price appears to be unfair, you may request the real estate agent to match the current market value.
Furthermore, these agreements are flexible where terms may be included and deleted before signing. Here are some examples of the types of terms:
● Including or excluding a break fee lease;
● Allowing tenants to keep pets on the premise;
● Requiring the usage of a specified person or business for repairs etc.
If these additional terms conflict with the standard agreement or the law, the contract may become unenforceable.
The most important thing to remember is to read through the lease. This will ensure that you understand the following information:
1. Length of the lease
Knowing the length of the lease is essential for you to verify. This locks you into the contract and may prevent you from moving during the lease period.
2. Carefully inspect the property
Ensure that you have diligently checked the property for any urgent repairs that the landlord has to address. Make sure these are listed on the condition report before signing, allowing you to have peace of mind before moving in.
Additionally, the landlord must not conceal the following information about the property:
● Serious flooding or bushfire damage;
● Significant health or safety risks;
● Serious violent crimes committed on the property;
● Selling the property during your tenancy; or
● Pending legal proceedings related to the property.
3. Keep documentation
Do not discard vital documents related to your tenancy after signing the document and remember to take photos before moving in to prove the condition of the property. You will need these once the agreement ends if there are any rental disputes.
At the end of the day, the rental agreement contains your rights and obligations as a tenant. The more you understand these, the better equipped you will be in dealing with any issues that may arise.