Rent and other charges
The tenant and the landlord agree on the rent at the start of a tenancy and it is written into the lease agreement. If the full amount of rent is not paid on time, it is a breach of the lease agreement and can lead to eviction and a poor tenancy record.
Rent in advance
Rent in advance and the bond are the only payments the landlord can ask for at the start of a tenancy. Up to two weeks rent in advance is standard in a lease agreement. To check your eligibility for assistance see help paying bond and rent.
Receipts and rent records
Landlords must give tenants a receipt for any rent money within 48 hours of receiving it unless it is paid directly into a bank account.
Detailed rent records must be kept by the landlord. A receipt is not needed if the rent is paid into a bank account. The date the money is credited into the account is the ‘paid’ date.
Rent receipts and records should show:
- the amount paid
- the date it was paid on
- who paid it
- the period the payment relates to
- the address of the rented property.
The landlord can be fined up to $2500 if they don’t give receipts or keep proper rent records.
The rent receipts and records fact sheet has more information about keeping accurate rent records.
Increasing the rent
For agreements starting before 1 March 2014, rent can be increased once every six months.
For agreements starting on or after 1 March 2014, rent can be increased:
- 12 months from the date of the last rent increase
- 12 months from the date the agreement started.
Landlords must provide tenants with at least 60 days' written notice of a rent increase .
The tenant can agree to a rent increase. This usually happens if the property has been improved, eg – installing an air conditioner.
Increasing the rent in fixed term agreements
Rent can only be increased:
- if it’s included as a condition in the agreement, usually by writing that the rent may be increased during the agrement and how it will be worked out – eg according to CPI.
- when the lease is going to be extended, but only if it’s been 12 months since the agreement started, or when the rent was last increased.
If a tenant thinks an increase is excessive, they can apply to the South Australian Civil & Administrative Tribunal (SACAT) for the rent to be changed.
Water and sewerage charges
The landlord must pay for sewerage charges. Information about who pays for water use and supply can be included in the lease agreement.
If there is nothing written into the agreement and there is a separate water meter:
- For agreements starting on or after 1 March 2014, the tenant needs to pay for water use and supply
- For agreements starting before 1 March 2014, the tenant needs to pay for water used over 136 kilolitres each year
A note must be included in the agreement explaining how water will be charged, eg – 50% of supply and use per property for two properties.
Landlords should attach a copy of the bill to the tenant’s invoice for water use and supply. The tenant does not have to pay for water charges if:
- the landlord does not ask for payment within 3 months of the bill’s issue.
- the tenant asks for a copy of the account and the landlord does not provide it within 30 days.
The tenant needs to organise connections for utilities such as gas, electricity and telephone.
The tenant is responsible for supply and use charges.
The landlord arranges insurance for the property/building.
The tenant arranges contents insurance for their personal belongings.
Getting help with your finances
If you are on a low income and are having financial difficulties, Centrelink and non-government organisations may be able to help you with one-off emergency payments for utility bills and other costs.
Find services in your area through the SA Community website.
You may be eligible for concessions for water, energy bills, dog registration, telephone and other household bills.
Find out what state government concessions you may be eligible for using the Concessions finder.