Starting a tenancy

Direction for landlords and tenants regarding rent and financial distress due to COVID-19 is available on the CBS website.

Both tenants and landlords have legal responsibilities. This applies whether the landlord manages a rental property themselves or employs an agent to manage it for them.

Anyone employed by a land agent who manages residential properties must complete specific training and be registered.

Choosing a suitable tenant


A landlord has the right to choose a suitable tenant but it is against the law to make this decision based on personal characteristics.

Read what these characteristics include and exceptions to the law on the Office of the Commissioner for Equal Opportunity website.

Rental application form

Prospective tenants can be asked to complete a rental application form, which usually requests information about their:

  • identity
  • contact details
  • likely occupants, such as a partner and children
  • income
  • previous rental details and reason for moving
  • length of time they plan to rent.

A personal or professional reference can help the landlord decide if someone doesn’t have a rental history.

Rental history

Questions that could be asked about rental history are:

  • Did they pay rent on time?
  • Did they keep the property clean?
  • Did they do any damage to the property?
  • Were there problems with noise or disputes with neighbours?
  • Would they rent to the tenant again?

Consumer and Business Services doesn’t provide this form.

Landlord's legal responsibilities

By law, the landlord must give the tenant this information at the start of the tenancy:

The landlord must also:


The landlord arranges insurance for the property. Some insurance companies offer packages specifically for landlords.

The tenant arranges contents insurance for their personal belongings. Tenants should check exactly what their insurance covers.

If a tenant causes damage to the property the landlord doesn’t have to make an insurance claim for the repair.

Contact CBS Tenancies


Phone: 131 882

GPO Box 965
Adelaide SA 5001

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Page last updated 21 December 2021

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Attorney-General's Department
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