Once your application has been approved and before moving into your new rental property you need to:
- sign your tenancy agreement
- pay the bond and rent in advance
- pick up the keys.
Entry condition report
The entry condition report should be completed before you move in to record any existing damage or problems with the property.
This is an important document that needs attention to detail. Make sure you 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), of which 1 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.
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 units (Form 17a), or Pocket guide for tenants—caravan parks (Form 17b).
Form 17a and 17b contain information about what to do during your tenancy and are also available 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, or 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 landlord or agent must lodge your bond money with the RTA, where it is kept while you live in the property. The RTA will send you a receipt including your rental bond number. Make sure you keep this receipt for when the tenancy agreement ends.
At the end of your tenancy you should talk to the landlord or agent about the bond refund and apply to the RTA to get your bond back by completing and signing a Refund of a rental bond (Form 4).
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.
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
Phone the Residential Tenancies Authority on 1300 366 311 for more information on moving into a rental property.