Previously, it was referred to as a residential tenancy agreement or a lease. It’s an agreement between the renter (tenant) and the rental company (landlord).

For residential properties such as homes, flats, and apartments, there are three types of rental agreements.

Rooming houses, caravan parks, and site renters in residential parks and communities have separate arrangements.

rental agreement

What should a rental agreement include? (lease)

The following items should be included in rental agreements:

  • the amount of rent and how it will be paid
  • the method for calculating rent increases
  • the duration and kind of agreement
  • the amount of bond
  • additional restrictions and rules
  • any unique requirements
  • Condition report
  • Terms of Lease

When signing a rental agreement, learn more about the rights of tenants

When signing a written rental agreement, you must use the “recommended form.” You can add terms and conditions to the form that aren’t in the form as long as they aren’t illegal. You must not add any clauses that take away any of the legal rights and obligations.

A rental agreement does not have a cooling-off period, so be sure you understand it and agree to the terms before signing it. Residential rental agreements come in a variety of shapes and sizes (leases)

Residential rental agreements are divided into three categories

  • short-term fixed-term agreements
  • long-term fixed-term agreements
  • monthly fixed-term agreements

Fixed-term contracts of a limited duration

The majority of fixed-term contracts are just for a few months. They may last 6 or 12 months, but they could even last up to 5 years.

Short-term agreements can be written or verbal, although formal agreements are preferred.

If you continue in the rented premises after a short fixed-term agreement expires without signing a new agreement, it will automatically become a periodic (month-to-month) arrangement.

Long-term fixed-term contracts

Long-term fixed-term agreements are those that last longer than 5 years period of time.

People may choose a long-term contract since it provides them with more security and stability. It also allows individuals to agree on topics like how rent hikes will be computed and making modifications to the property before signing the agreement.

Long-term agreements are governed by various legislation. These are some of them:

  • Bond re-enforcement. After the renter has lived in the property for 5 years and there is a long-term agreement for another 5 or more years, the rental provider may request an extra bond.
  • Tenants putting up fixtures and making changes to the property. Before establishing a long-term agreement, a rental provider and a tenant can agree on some adjustments. If the modifications are incorporated into the agreement, the tenant does not need to seek approval from the rental provider.
  • Breaking a contract. Renters who vacate early may be required to pay one month’s rent for each full year of the lease remaining, up to a maximum of six months.

Long-term contracts must be written down. If this is not the case, the renter may terminate the agreement at any time by giving the rental provider 28 days’ notice. There will be no penalty for the renter.

If you continue in the rented premises after a long fixed-term agreement expires without signing a new agreement, it will automatically become a periodic (month-to-month) arrangement. The rules of that periodic agreement will be the normal fixed-term agreement with a length of 5 years or less when it expires.

Agreements that be renewed on a monthly basis

There is no expiration date to a month-to-month arrangement.

Unless either the rental provider or the renter gives the notice to cancel the agreement or decides to start a new fixed-term agreement, a fixed-term rental agreement will automatically change into a periodic agreement when it expires.

When a fixed-term agreement becomes a month-to-month arrangement, the tenant usually does not sign a new agreement.

The terms and conditions of the original fixed-term agreement still apply to the new periodic agreement if the fixed-term agreement was for less than 5 years.

If a lengthy fixed-term agreement expires and is converted to a periodic agreement, the conditions of the periodic agreement will be the same as the normal fixed-term agreement of 5 years or less at the time the lease expires.

Before settling in

Before a renter moves in, the rental provider or agent must provide them with the following:

  • a copy of the rental agreement if it is in writing
  • a copy of the Renters guide, either in paper form or digitally if the renter agreed to receive documents electronically 
  • a phone number in case the tenant need immediate maintenance after office hours (2 copies or 1 electronic).

Adapting to new agreements (leases)

  • Renters and landlords might agree to switch from one type of rental agreement to another.
  • mutually agree to terminate the existing agreement early and begin the new agreement
  • wait till the present agreement expires before starting a new one.

Unless either the rental provider or the renter gives the notice to cancel the arrangement, a fixed-term rental agreement will automatically change into a periodic agreement when it expires. You can, however, both agree to begin a new fixed-term arrangement.

Conditions that cannot be included in a contract (lease)

Additional conditions can be included in rental agreements to the standard terms or including a prohibited term if the tenant or rental provider or real estate requests them, although some conditions are not permitted in a rental property.

The agreement is void if one of these forbidden conditions is mentioned. For inserting a forbidden provision in the agreement, the rental provider may face fines as per the lease agreement.

Conditions that aren’t allowed to be listed in the list

Renters cannot be forced to

  •  pay extra rent or fines if they violate the terms of the agreement 
  •  pay for the rental provider or agent to draught the agreement 
  •  pay rent in advance in a way that incurs additional costs (other than bank or account fees payable on the renter’s bank account)

Furthermore, the agreement cannot state that

  • rent will be reduced if the renter follows the agreement’s rules;
  • the renter will be paid rebates or other payments if they follow the agreement’s rules;
  • renter will be charged for not cleaning the home properly
  • the renter will be bound by a contract that they did not agree to in writing after having an opportunity to review it before entering into the rental agreement.


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