All tenancy agreements are legal contracts, including if they are verbal. Agreements should be in writing so the details are easier to prove if there’s a problem.
Tenants must be given a copy when they sign it, or within 21 days of it being signed by both the landlord and tenant.
A landlord must also keep a copy, including any changes to it - in paper or electronic form - for at least two years after the tenancy ends.
Both fixed and periodic lease agreements are provided by CBS.
Fixed term agreements
Fixed term lease agreements are for a specific term, for example 12 months, and include the date the tenancy ends.
The end date can be changed if the landlord and tenant agree. If the tenant moves out before that date, they might need to pay break lease costs.
Rent can't be increased during a fixed term agreement unless a condition is included in the agreement that allows for an increase. The condition needs to say how the increase will be worked out, such as according to CPI.
Notice to end a fixed term lease
The tenant or the landlord must tell the other person if the lease agreement is ending (and will not be renewed) at least 28 days before the end date. A written notice must be given:
If no one gives notice the agreement continues as a periodic lease.
Extending a fixed term lease
The landlord can give a written notice of lease extension to a tenant if they want to extend a fixed term lease. A new lease agreement is another option. Rent can be increased with either option if there hasn’t been an increase for 12 months.
Short fixed term agreement
Short fixed term leases are tenancy agreements for up to 90 days. Other conditions stay the same as a traditional fixed term agreement. The landlord needs to give the tenant a written notice of a short fixed term agreement (149.5 KB PDF) as well as a lease agreement. Both documents must be signed by the landlord and the tenant.
Periodic lease agreements don't have a date the tenancy ends. They continue until either the tenant or landlord give the required written notice to end the tenancy.
Notice to end a periodic agreement
The tenant must give at least 21 days written notice (244.5 KB PDF) or one month's written notice if rent is paid monthly. The landlord can agree to accept less notice but this should be in writing.
The landlord needs to give at least 90 days written notice to end a periodic agreement (269.9 KB PDF) for no specific reason, or can give 60 days’ written notice if:
- the property owner wants to live in the property
- major renovations are needed
- demolition is planned
- the property has been sold and the contract states that the property will be vacant.
After a 60 day’ notice is given, a landlord can’t enter into another tenancy for 6 months, unless the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT) gives consent.
Extra conditions can be included in a lease agreement as long as they comply with tenancy laws - examples of inappropriate conditions (258.0 KB PDF) .
Details can’t be changed on an existing lease agreement unless the:
- tenant agrees to the new conditions
- changes are written clearly on the original lease agreement
- changes are signed by both the tenant and landlord.
The landlord must give a copy of the changed agreement to the tenant and keep one for their records.
Landlords can ask a prospective tenant for a consideration payment - deposit - before the lease agreement is signed. Paying this deposit shows they’re agreeing to sign a lease agreement at a later date.
If the prospective tenant doesn’t sign at a later date, the landlord could keep all or some of the deposit. If they do sign the lease agreement, the landlord must put that money towards the rent.