TENANT INFORMATION: RESIDENTIAL TENANCIES ACT

 

On signing the Rental Agreement the tenant is due to pay the following:

 

Initial Amount Payable

 

  • Four weeks rent as bond (and $260 pet bond, if applicable).
  • One week rent in advance.
  • The first week's rent.

 

Total of 6 weeks’ rent.

 

  • NB.  The four weeks’ rent taken as bond, is lodged in a joint landlord/ tenant account.  The interest on this money goes to the REBA Bond Trust Account (W. A. Government Authority).
  • The bond is used to rectify any damage etc. (refer to Residential Tenancies Act) that may be inflicted on the property.

 

Method of Payment of Rent

 

  • Rent may paid by cheque, cash, bank direct debit or internet transfer.
  • Payment may be posted to our Applecross office to arrive by the date due for payment.

 

OUTLINE OF KEY POINTS OF RESIDENTIAL TENANCIES ACT

 

  • RESIDENTIAL TENANCIES ACT 1987/ Residential Tenancies Regulations 1989
  • In general only applies to properties let for over 3 months.
  • States that disputes are resolved by a Magistrate of the Local Court up to a value of $6,000.

 

Rent

 

  • Consideration restricted to rent and bond only.  No key money.
  • Leasing and letting fees not included.
  • Maximum of 2 weeks in advance.
  • Receipt must be given within 3 days.
  • Any variation must be notified in writing.  Not less than 60 days notice, no sooner than 6 months from start of lease and only if lease allows for increase.
  • Rent records must be kept.
  • Post-dated cheques prohibited.
  • No control over excessive rental.  A tenant can appeal against the rent level only if the premises is downgraded, or the landlord is using the increase as an excuse to force the tenant to vacate.
  • Rent collection cannot be more than once a week and must be at a convenient time.  A tenant has the responsibility to deliver the rent to an agent.

 

Bond

 

  • In general, the maximum bond that can be collected is 4 times the weekly rent.
  • Exceptions are an excess of $260 for a Pet Bond if a pet is involved.
  • Bonds must be reduced accordingly if the rent is lowered.  Bonds can be increased if the rent is lifted, but only after 60 days' notice and not before 12 months of the lease has expired.
  • The 4 week rule does not apply to properties renting at above $500 per week, or to a residence which for a whole 3 months prior to renting was the principal private residence of the owner.
  • A receipt must be given immediately to tenant.
  • The bond must be lodged with the bond administrator or in a joint bank account immediately.  It cannot be held by the Owner or his agent.
  • The tenant cannot ask for rent to be taken out of the bond.
  • Tenant's Responsibilities
  • Keep and leave the property in a clean condition.
  • Notify the landlord or his agent within 3 days of any damage to the property.
  • Not use the property for illegal purposes.
  • Not be a nuisance.

 

Owner

 

  • Provide a clean premises for renting.
  • Maintain and repair the premises and pay all outgoings.
  • Comply with building and health regulations.

 

Miscellaneous Points of Interest

 

  • Neither party can change locks.
  • Tenant to be allowed quiet enjoyment.
  • Tenant must notify owner or agent of need for repairs.  Urgent repairs that may cause injury or undue inconvenience, can be organised by the tenant, provided he has first tried to notify owner or agent.
  • Repairs must be carried out by qualified person.
  • Qualified person must provide a written report.

 

Owner's Right of Entry

 

  • Anytime in an emergency.
  • After not less than 7 days' notice and not more than 14 days at a reasonable hour for inspections.
  • Once a week at reasonable hour for rent collection.
  • After 72 hours at a reasonable time for inspection of repairs.
  • To show prospective tenants at a reasonable time, on a reasonable number of occasions, with reasonable notice only within 21 days of termination of the lease.
  • To show prospective purchasers at a reasonable time, on a reasonable number of occasions, with reasonable notice.
  • Anytime with the consent of the tenant.

 

Fixtures

 

  • Tenant can only hang fixtures if the lease allows it, and then after permission.  Must make good damage or compensate owner.

 

Leases

 

  • Must be in writing.
  • Landlord to pay for preparation costs.
  • Tenant must be given copy on signing.
  • No right to assign unless specifically allowed in lease.
  • Landlord can discriminate against pets, but not children.
  • If tenant breaks lease, rule of mitigation applies.

 

Termination

 

  • Notice of termination may be given at:
  • End of lease.
  • By magistrate
  • By mortgagee.
  • By tenant's action in abandoning property.
  • Notice of Termination must be in writing on the prescribed form.

 

Breach

 

  • If a breach occurs (other than a non payment of rent), a breach notice is issued and the tenant/ landlord is given 14 days to rectify.
  • If not fixed, a termination notice is given which allows 7 days to vacate.  If not out, within 30 days must apply to magistrate.  Act says it should take 14 days for a hearing.  In practise it's about 3 to 4 weeks, depending on which Court.  (Perth is the quickest).
  • It is vital to note that the Courts are absolutely pedantic on paperwork.  If it isn't exactly right they will reject the case.  The times of 14, 7 days etc. are increased to allow for weekends, public holidays etc.  The cost of the court application can be recovered from the tenant.
  • If the Court finds in favour of the Landlord, a notice of eviction is sent in the mail a few days after the hearing.  If the tenant won't move you have to arrange for a Bailiff at more cost.
  • Magistrate can terminate a lease immediately in the case where the tenant causes serious damage or injury.  He can also override other reasons for termination and give immediate termination if owner will suffer undue hardship.  Owner may have to pay compensation.
  • Parties or their non legally qualified agents must present own cases.
  • Lawyers can be used only if all parties agree, if no party will be unfairly affected, if one of the parties is already a legal practitioner, or if one is a strata company.
  • No appeal against decisions.
  • Unusual for costs to be awarded.

 

Notice

 

  • On a periodic lease 30 days if property sold, otherwise 60days by landlord, 21 for tenant.
  • Must see out term of fixed lease.

 

Abandoned Goods

 

  • Owner can apply for order that premises has been abandoned.
  • Special handling of goods: dispose of perishables and goods of estimated value less that cost of storage and sale within 2 days.
  • Otherwise store for 60 days, advertise in paper, sell by auction.  Take what's owed, give rest to court.
  • PLEASE NOTE THAT THE ABOVE POINTS ARE INTENDED TO BE A QUICK GUIDE ONLY AND ARE NOT TO BE TAKEN AS AN AUTHORITY OR ANY SUBSTITUTION FOR THE RESIDENTIAL TENANCIES ACT.