Renting Property FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a publication outlining the responsibilities of tenants and landlords in Tasmania?

Yes, the Office of Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading publishes several free guides and advice for tenting in Tasmania.

What is a security deposit or bond?

A security deposit or bond is an amount of payment paid in advance and placed in trust while a tenant rents a property. It is surety for the property owner in case the tenant leaves without notice and/or damages the property to the point where the property needs attention. It is in paid in good faith by the tenant to show they are serious about looking after the property and doing the right thing throughout the period of the tenancy. The level of bond is negotiable, but historically it has been one month’s rent in advance. Accordingly, if a landlord requires the rent to be paid four weeks in advance, a total of 8 weeks rent would be paid at the time contracts are signed and the tenant takes possession of the property. Provided the property is maintained at a high level during the tenancy, no repairs are required and no rent is owed, the tenant can expect to receive their bond back at the end of their lease..

What is a lease break?

A lease break is when a tenant opts to terminate a lease earlier than the agreed lease agreement timeframe. For example a person who signs a 12 months agreement decides they want to move interstate and no longer wishes to continue the agreement. The lease is a legally binding contact and accordingly there are some ramifications which the tenant should discuss with their landlord or property owner…

When can a landlord legally put the rent up?

A landlord or property owner who wishes to increase the level of rent is required to give 60 days’ notice specifying the amount of the increase and date on which the increase takes effect. An increase can only take effect from a day that is more than: 60 days after notice of an increase is given, six months after the last increase in rent, six months after notice of an increase is given where the residential tenancy agreement commenced less than 60 days previously, and six months after an order from a magistrate relating to rent. If the rental agreement has no provision for a rental increase, then no increase can take place until the agreement is up for renewal.

What are my rights when it comes to maintenance on my rented property?

The landlord or property owner is legally obliged to make repairs within a prescribed timeframe with supply of essential services such as heating, cooking and the general security of the property. The tenant should make the property owner or landlord aware of their concerns immediately, and subject to availability of trade’s people, the matter should be remedied ASAP. Damage to the property by tenants or other parties should be reported immediately, and a determination made as to who will pay for the repairs. A booklet prepared by the Office of Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading provides detailed advice for Renting in Tasmania. And this can be accessed FREE by going to www.consumer.tas.gov.au

What is a condition report?

A condition report is a document that details the current condition of the rental property at the time the lease agreement commences. I.e. the state of the carpet, walls, appliances etc The incoming tenant and the landlord should each sign the document to confirm that the document reflects the condition of the property. Each party should retain a signed copy of the report as this will assist when the lease expires and an inspection can be made by both parties to determine what if anything is now different aside from normal wear and tear. A condition report is strongly recommended as it protects the interests of both parties.

If a group of people are renting a property - what happens when one leaves?

The landlord or property owner should be advised of any change with a tenancy. If additional people move in or one person moves on and is replaced, the property owner or landlord should be advised and changes made to the lease agreement and/or a new agreement drawn up. Failure to do so has legal implication s for both parties, and this often results in problems arising with the return of the bond and resolving maintenance or damages issues during or at the end of a tenancy period.

What about water charges in a rental property?

A property owner or landlord can only pass on water charges if the agreement permits such charges, the premises are equipped with a device that calculates water use or the Council makes a separate charge for water consumption (usually an excess water use charge)

What if i have a dispute about my security deposit or bond?

Disputes about security deposits and bonds are dealt with by the Residential Tenancy Commissioner at the Office of Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading. If the tenant disagrees with the amount of the security deposit that is retuned by the owner, the tenant may lodge a written application with the Commissioner and request the Commissioner to make a decision about the matter. (See Residential Tenancy Commissioner under who’s who for more information)

Is there an agency that can help people on low income?

Yes. The Private Rental Tenancy Support Service (PRTSS) is a joint initiative of Centracare and the Salvation Army. Access to services is Free and based in Burnie, Launceston and Hobart. For more information call 1300 729 400

Where can i get information on rental bonds?

From 1 July 2009 rental bonds must be paid to the Rental Deposit Authority (RDA) or to a real estate agent. If they are paid to the agent, then the agent must forward the bond to the RDA. This rule applies to existing rental agreements that are renewed or extended after 30 June 2009. It will be illegal for private property owners to receive a bond after this date. For more information visit www.Mybond.tas.gov.au or call the RDA on 1300-654-499.

What should a real estate agent do in the preparation for attending the Magistrates Court?

Property management personnel should be well prepared for their visit to the Magistrates Court. Please see attached the following documents which will be of practical assistance in ensuring your property management matter is dealt with quickly, efficiently, and hopefully successfully.

Does the new bond payment system through the Rental Deposit Authority (RDA) in Tasmania from July 1st, 2009, only apply to residential properties - or commercial properties as well?

The RDA confirm that the new authority is only interested in residential bond payments made by tenants of private landlords and those properties managed by a real estate agent.