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Renting Frequently Asked Questions

QIs there a publication outlining the responsibilities of tenants and landlords in Tasmania?
AYes, the Office of Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading publishes several free guides and advice for renting in Tasmania.
QWhat is a security deposit or bond?
AA bond (sometimes called a ‘security deposit’) is a payment by a tenant that acts as a security for the owner. It protects the owner from any financial loss if a tenant does something the lease does not allow or fails to do something the lease requires them to do. A bond cannot be more than four weeks’ rent and cannot be increased during the tenancy. It is illegal for property owners to receive a bond from a tenant and for a tenant to pay their bond to a property owner.
Before paying a bond, the owner or agent and tenant must be registered in MyBond. https://www.cbos.tas.gov.au/topics/housing/renting/bonds/bond-lodgement-and-paying-a-bond-contribution
QWhat is a lease break?
AA lease break is when a tenant opts to terminate a lease earlier than the agreed lease agreement timeframe. For example; a tenant may have signed a 12-month lease, however 6 months into the lease, the tenant decides they want to move interstate and no longer wishes to continue the agreement. The lease is a legally binding contract and accordingly there are some ramifications which the tenant should discuss with their landlord or property owner…
QWhen can a landlord legally put the rent up?
AA 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, twelve months after the last increase in rent, twelve months after notice of an increase is given where the residential tenancy agreement commenced less than 60 days previously, and twelve 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.
QHow much can a landlord legally put the rent up by?
AThere is no limit on the amount a landlord can increase the rent by. If a tenant believes an increase is unreasonable it may be challenged with the Residential Tenancy Commissioner (RTC). Tenants will have 60 days from notice of the rent increase to lodge a dispute. In deciding if an increase is unreasonable the RTC takes into account the general level of rents for comparable premises in the locality and any other relevant matter
QWhat are my rights when it comes to maintenance on my rented property?
AThe 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
QWhat is a condition report?
AA 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. 2 copies of the condition report must be provided to the tenant at the start of the tenancy. 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. A bond cannot be lodged if a condition report has not been completed at the property at the start of the tenancy.
QIf a group of people are renting a property - what happens when one leaves?
AThe 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 implications 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.
QWhat about water charges in a rental property?
AA 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). For example; if a tenant rents a unit in a complex of 20 units and there is no separate water meter for each unit, then the tenant cannot be charged water usage for the property.
QWhat if I have a dispute about my security deposit or bond?
ADisputes 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)
QIs there an agency that can help people on low income?
AYes. 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
QWhat should a real estate agent do in the preparation for attending the Magistrates Court?
A

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.

  1. For a "Guide to the Court process" (Click here)
  2. For a one page "Court Tips" on Magistrate Court attendance (Click here)
  3. For Magistrates Court forms, use this link: https://www.magistratescourt.tas.gov.au/forms
  4. For a list of fees: https://www.magistratescourt.tas.gov.au/fees
QWhat is the new bond payment system through the Rental Deposit Authority (RDA) in Tasmania starting May 1st, 2019
ATenants, property owners and property agents will have access to the new online bond management system called MyBond. You can find more information here: MyBond