Advice to tenants – ensure your paperwork is correct

Winter 2017

The Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) is urging prospective tenants to make sure they correctly fill in all the appropriate paperwork prior to renting to avoid disputes emerging.

One of the most important documents is the General tenancy agreement (Form 18a), informally called a lease, which is a legally binding written contract between the tenant and the property manager/owner.

It includes the standard terms of the tenancy and may include special terms, which should be clearly stipulated in the agreement. These can be additions like the keeping of pets or pest control.

When an agreement is reached, the document should be signed by all parties and the tenant should be given a copy to keep.

Other documents which should be supplied are a copy of the Pocket guide for tenants (Form 17a), a copy of any applicable body corporate by-laws, a Bond lodgement (Form 2), and an Entry condition report (Form 1a).

The Entry condition report records the condition of the property at the start of the tenancy and is an important document if there is a dispute about the condition of the property when you move out. Tenants should ensure they fill out their part of the Entry condition report and return a copy to the property manager/owner within 3 days.

The period of the tenancy has to be agreed upon by both parties and should be clearly documented in the General tenancy agreement.

  • Fixed term agreement – has a start date and an end date and it’s agreed the property will be rented for a fixed amount of time, e.g. 6 months.
  • Periodic agreement – when you agree to rent the property for an unspecified amount of time, so the tenancy will have a start date but no defined end date.

Other tenancy aspects which may be queried by either party are the prospects of bond or rental increases, water usage charges, and key deposits – these must be clearly stated in the special terms of the agreement, if applicable.

To keep track of rental bonds, it is recommended the tenant lodges all relevant contact information, including phone numbers, addresses, and emails, with the RTA.

More information is available by contacting the RTA direct on 1300 366 311.

The RTA is the Queensland Government statutory authority that administers the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008. They provide tenancy information, bond management, dispute resolution, investigation, and policy and education services.