Once your application has been approved, you’re almost ready to move into your new rental property.
Before you move in, you need to:
- sign your tenancy agreement
- pay the bond and rent in advance
- pick up the keys.
Signing the tenancy agreement
The general tenancy agreement is a legal contract. You and the landlord or agent must agree to its conditions when signing it.
Before signing the tenancy agreement, make sure you read and understand it. The agreement states:
- who is renting the property and who can live there
- when the agreement starts and ends
- the amount of rent to be paid and how often (e.g. weekly)
- how the rent will be paid (e.g. cheque, bank transfer)
- the standard and special terms of agreement.
You must sign and return the agreement within 5 days of receiving it.
When you sign the tenancy agreement, the landlord or agent must give you a:
- signed copy of the general tenancy agreement (form 18a)
- signed copy of the entry condition report (form 1a)
- the Pocket guide for tenants—houses and unit (form 17a) or Pocket guide for tenants—caravan parks (form 17b).
Forms 17a and 17b contain information about what to do during your tenancy. You can also get them from the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA).
Paying the rent and bond
Most agents require tenants to pay rent and a bond in advance—you may need to make your first rent payment before you move in.
A rental bond is money you pay at the start of your tenancy to your landlord or agent. They can claim and use this money:
- if you break the tenancy agreement and owe rent
- to repair any damage you have made to the property
- to cover any other costs at the end of your tenancy.
If your rent is less than $700 a week, the maximum bond that can be charged is 4 weeks’ worth of rent. The lessor or agent can charge any amount as bond if the weekly rent is more than $700.
The landlord or agent must lodge your bond money with the RTA, where it is held in trust while you live in the property. The RTA sends you a receipt including your rental bond number. Keep this receipt in a safe place with your rental documents for when the tenancy agreement ends.
If you can’t afford the full rental bond, ask the lessor or agent if you can pay in instalments and check your eligibility for a bond loan.
At the end of your tenancy, apply to the RTA to get your bond back by completing a Refund of a rental bond (form 4) as soon as you return the key to the lessor or agent.
Send the completed form to the RTA. It’s best if everyone (all tenants and the lessor or agent) sign and agree on the bond refund amount.
Ask for a copy of your rent payment record or receipts for payment to be sent to you at least once a month. If you pay your rent by cash or cheque, the landlord or agent must give you a receipt each time. Keep these receipts with your copy of the tenancy agreement, bond receipt and entry condition report.
Entry condition report
You should complete the entry condition report before you move in to record any existing damage or problems with the property.
This is an important document that needs attention to detail. Take the time to closely inspect the property and correctly complete the report.
The landlord or real estate agent must complete and sign both copies of the report (form 1a). One copy is yours to keep.
You should then:
- check all the details and comments made by the landlord/agent on the report—the accuracy of the report will be very important if you need to resolve any disputes about the condition of the property when moving out
- fill out the ‘tenant’ section of the report and add your own comments on both copies
- sign and return the report to the landlord or agent within 3 days.
The checklist below may help when moving into a new place.
- Electricity on
- Gas on (if needed)
- Phone and internet on (if needed)
- House contents
- Post office to redirect your mail from the old address
- Bank or finance company
- Electoral Commission
- Child/Family day care
- Dentist and doctor
- Newsagents or subscriptions
- Car registration and driver licence
- School or university
- Superannuation funds
- Vehicle breakdown service
- Veterinary surgery