The Residential Tenancies Act 1995
is the legislation that regulates lease agreements.
Before you move into a new property you will usually be given a lease agreement to sign. This is a legal document that sets the conditions of your right to occupy the property. The lease agreement will detail some of your responsibilities and those of your landlord. It is important to read this document carefully and understand what you are signing.
Don't sign a document if you don't understand it. Ask the landlord for explanations of any items that are confusing or that you are unsure of. If you have any concerns about a lease agreement contact Consumer and Business Services (CBS)
A lease agreement doesn't have to be written, it can be verbal or just implied, but a written agreement will give you greater legal protection if anything goes wrong. You can ask for a lease agreement to be made in writing and the landlord will have to cover any costs for arranging this.
The landlord must provide you with a copy of the lease agreement you both signed. You should keep your lease agreement until after the bond has been released by the landlord after the end of your tenancy.
What conditions are normally covered in a lease agreement?
Lease agreements will usually set out:
- the amount of rent charged and when it is due
- the length of your tenancy
- who is responsible for property maintenance and water costs
- acceptable standards of behaviour for you, your household and visitors
- how the landlord can give you written notice before they can access the property.
The landlord can include additional conditions as long as they don’t contradict the Residential Tenancies Act 1995.
For more information - see lease agreement terms inconsistent with the Residential Tenancies Act 1995. For an alternative version of this document contact Consumer and Business Services (CBS) tenancies branch.
Once a lease agreement is signed the landlord can not change, remove or add extra conditions without negotiating them with you. Any changes should be noted on the original lease agreement and signed by you and the landlord.
Different types of lease agreements
There are different types of lease agreements. These set out how long your tenancy is for, how you can end the tenancy and when the landlord can increase the rent.
Fixed term agreements
These agreements will set an end date for the tenancy - eg six months. The end date can’t be changed by either you or the landlord unless you both agree to it.
Rent can’t be increased during this period unless there is a specific condition in your lease agreement. This could be a sentence stating the landlord can choose to increase the rent by giving written notice or it could show the new rent amount and when it will apply.
If you want to leave a fixed term agreement before the end date, speak to your landlord. You may be liable for costs associated with readvertising and reletting the property, as well as for any loss of rent.
A landlord can’t end your tenancy early without negotiating with you first. The only exception is if you have failed to comply with the conditions set out in the lease agreement, also referred to as breaching the lease agreement, and you are being evicted - eg for not paying rent.
Short fixed term agreements
These agreements set out a tenancy for up to 90 days but otherwise the same conditions apply as for a fixed term agreement. A written notice of a short fixed term agreement must be given to you as well as the lease agreement for both you and the landlord to sign.
These agreements are for an indefinite period until you either choose to move out or the landlord gives you written notice to leave.
Rent can increase once every six months either since you signed the lease agreement or since the last rent increase. The landlord must give you 60 days written notice before the rent can be increased.
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DownloadsPeriodic lease agreementFixed term lease agreementNotice of short fixed term lease agreement
For an alternative version of this document contact CBS tenancies branch
LegislationResidential Tenancies Act 1995