Rent charges, increases and receipts
See advice for landlords and tenants in relation to COVID-19 on the CBS website.
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.
Up to two weeks' rent in advance and the bond are the only payments the landlord can ask for at the start of a tenancy. This means that monthly, or calendar monthly rent payments can't be taken until the first two weeks rent has been used up and the next rent is due.
Make sure calendar monthly rent is calculated correctly - weekly rent divided by 7, multiplied by 365 (or 366 in a leap year), divided by 12.
Tenants can check with Housing SA if they are eligible for help to pay bond and rent.
A landlord must offer the tenant other ways to pay rent other than by cash or through a rent collection agency. Rent collection agencies provide an electronic rent payment service (for a fee) and the tenant must enter into an agreement which is separate from the residential tenancy agreement.
How the rent is paid can only be changed during the tenancy if the landlord and tenant agree on the change. A nominated address or bank account can be changed at any time, provided the other party is notified.
Rent receipts and records
Landlords must give tenants a receipt for any rent paid within 48 hours, unless it is paid directly into a bank account.
Detailed rent records must be kept by the landlord for all rent paid. The date the money is credited into the account is the ‘paid’ date.
Rent receipts and records must show:
- the amount paid
- the date paid
- who paid it
- the period the payment relates to
- the address of the rented property.
The landlord can be fined if they don’t give receipts or keep proper rent records.
The rent receipts and records information sheet provides examples of proper rent records.
Increasing the rent
For agreements starting:
- before 1 March 2014, rent can be increased once every six months.
- on or after 1 March 2014, rent can be increased after 12 months from the date of the last rent increase or from when 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, for instance if an air conditioner is installed.
Any agreement should be clear and in writing.
Increasing the rent in fixed term agreements
Rent can only be increased if:
- a condition allowing for a rent increase is included in the agreement it needs to say how it will be worked out such as according to CPI. At least 60 days’ written notice still needs to be given and the increase cannot start until 12 months is up since the agreement started, or the rent was last increased.
- the specific amount of the increase and date it will commence is included as a condition in the agreement, for instance, rent will increase to $400 per week from 1 July
- the lease is going to be extended, provided it’s been 12 months since the agreement started, or 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.