As a tenant what you must know before you sign a lease? At the start of every tenancy you should be given the following by the landlord or agent:
- a copy of this information statement
- a copy of your lease (tenancy agreement)
- 02 copies of the premises condition report (more on that later)
- a bond lodgement form for you to sign, so that it can be lodged with NSW Fair Trading
- keys to your new home.
The first thing you should do before you sign the lease is read it thoroughly. If there is anything in it which you don’t understand, ask questions. Remember, you are committing to a legally binding contract for which there is no cooling-off period. You will want to be certain you understand and agree to what you are signing.
Only when you can respond with a Yes to the following statements, should you sign the lease.
- I have read the lease and I asked questions if there were things I didn’t understand.
- I know the length of the lease is negotiated before I sign, which means it can be for 6 months, 12 months, or some other period.
- I know that I must be offered at least one way to pay the rent which does not involve paying a fee to a third party.
- I know that any additional terms to the lease are negotiated before I sign.
- I have checked that all additional terms to the lease are legal, for example, the lease does not include a term requiring me to have the carpet professionally cleaned when I leave, unless I have agreed to that as part of a condition to allow me to keep a pet on the premises.
In relation to any promises by the landlord or agent (for example, replace the oven, paint a room, clean up the backyard etc):
- I have made sure these have already been done, or
- I have an undertaking in writing (before signing the lease) that they will be done.
I am not being required to pay:
- more than 2 weeks rent in advance, unless I freely offer to pay more
- more than 4 weeks rent as a rental bond.
I am not being charged for:
- the cost of preparing my lease
- the initial supply of keys and security devices to each tenant named on the lease.