Most Agencies require tenants to pay their first 2 weeks rent before they move into a property. This is not a ‘down payment’ or a ‘holding fee’ or a ‘deposit’. It is your first 2 weeks’ rent payment.
Many tenants are under the impression that this payment is somehow ‘held’ by their agent in a separate account, and at the end of the tenancy they can ask the agent to now ‘use’ these funds to pay their last 2 weeks rent.
This is a common misunderstanding and in fact is the number one cause for disagreement between agents and tenants at the end of a tenancy.
This is what actually happens. A tenant pays his first 2 weeks’ rent and moves in on 1st March. This money is receipted as rent from 1st March to 14th March. It appears on his rent ledger. What normally happens is that the tenant will make his next rent payment on or around 15th March, for the next week or 2 weeks. This is receipted as rent from 15th March… and so it goes on.
If the tenant wishes to make use of the ‘2 weeks rent in advance’ that he paid up front for the end of his lease, he would need to make his second payment on 1st March (as soon as he moved in), and continue to make regular payments until the end of this lease. This would mean that during the tenancy, his rent would be at least 2 weeks in advance at all times.
The best way for you as a tenant to check if you are ahead in your rent payments is to ask for a rental ledger. This ledger is a true and accurate account of all rental payments you have made to the agent INCLUDING THE FIRST 2 WEEKS RENT IN ADVANCE. If you see that you are not 2 weeks ahead, you need to look at all the payments you have made since moving in and the corresponding period that the payment refers to. Remember – the agent is not ‘holding’ any of your money. (This is actually illegal!).
If you believe that you have made an extra payment that is not shown on your ledger, you will need to contact your agent and provide proof of this payment. If the funds have gone missing, you may need to request a trace with your bank to find what has happened to the funds.
Agents collect rent from the tenants, deduct fees and any invoices payable, and then transfer the remaining funds to their owners all at once in what is called a ‘Disbursement’.
There is no need to wait until the lease expires, a Residential Tenancy Agreement (lease) is a legally binding document that binds a tenant and a rental property together, it is not bound by a particular Agent, Property Manager or Property Owner.
If you would like us to look after your residential investment property in Townsville it is as simple as a phone call on 07 4728 1007.
The Exit condition report (Form 14a) or The Exit condition report (Form 14b) for a movable dwelling/site shows the condition of the property and any inclusions (e.g. furniture) when the tenant leaves. There is no Exit condition report form for rooming accommodation.
The Exit condition report is an important part of the bond refund process. It is compared to the Entry condition report (Form 1a) or The Entry condition report(Form 1b) for a movable dwelling/site to determine if the property is in the same condition as when the tenant moved in, apart from fair wear and tear.
Ideally, the tenant and property manager/owner should complete the report together, however it can be completed separately.
What to do
- tenant thoroughly cleans the property (handy tips)
- tenant and property manager/owner complete the Exit condition report(together or separately)
- tenant vacates the property
- property manager/owner sends a completed copy of the report to the tenant at their new address within 3 business days
- once the property has been vacated, the tenant may request a bond refund (as long as no money is owed to the property manager/owner for rent, damages or other costs)
The property manager/owner must keep a copy of the signed report for at least 1 year after the tenancy ends.
You may want to consider renovating or improving your home before you put it up for sale. Think about how much money you would spend and whether it’s likely to improve your sale price.
Think about your home’s safety devices. By law, your home should already have certain types of safety devices. You may need to replace or repair old devices, or install anything that’s missing.
A safety switch:
- detects certain forms of faults in electric devices
- shuts off power through those circuits.
Any home built after 1992 must have safety switches.
Older homes may not have them, but you might still consider installing one because the buyer will have to install one within 3 months anyway.
Do not attempt to do electrical work yourself. Always use a licensed electrician.
Smoke alarms law
On 1 January 2017, a new law about smoke alarms started in Queensland.
Requirements for smoke alarms in residential dwellings will change progressively over the next 10 years.
All new and substantially renovated homes that are subject to a building application submitted on or after 1 January 2017, must have interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms (compliant with Australian Standard 3786:2014) installed.
The smoke alarms must be:
- in every bedroom
- in hallways that connect bedrooms
- on each level of the home.
From 1 January 2022, these requirements will apply to all houses leased and sold, and from 1 January 2027, they will apply to all homes.
In the meantime, if a homeowner replaces a legally required smoke alarm in an existing dwelling, it must be replaced with a photoelectric smoke alarm that complies with Australian Standard 3786:2014. If that smoke alarm is powered by 240 volts, it must be replaced with a 240-volt smoke alarm. If the smoke alarm is not powered by 240 volts, it may be replaced with tamper-proof, 10-year battery smoke alarm.
When a tenant is renting a property or room, it is their home. The property manager/owner may need to enter for an inspection, repair or a viewing, but it is important that the tenant’s privacy is respected.
The property manager/owner can only enter the property for a valid reason and if the correct notice has been given using the Entry notice (Form 9).
Entry must be between 8am and 6pm Monday to Saturday.
Entry is only permitted outside these hours, on a Sunday or public holidays if the tenant agrees.
The property manager/owner must specify a time, or 2-hour window, for a general inspection and must enter the property within that time.
This timeframe does not apply to other people (e.g. tradesperson or a property valuer).
When an entry notice is not required
- in an emergency
- if the property manager/owner believes entry is necessary to protect the property from damage about to happen
- if the tenant verbally agrees with the entry, and
- to carry out site maintenance in a caravan park (if specified in the tenancy agreement)
Disputes about entry
If entry problems cannot be resolved by the tenant and property manager discussing the issue, the RTA’s dispute resolution service may be able to help.
Entry notice periods (general tenancies and moveable dwellings)
|Inspect the property||7 days||Once every 3 months|
|Follow-up inspection (check a significant breach has been fixed)||24 hours||Entry must occur within 14 days of the expiry date on the Notice to Remedy Breach (Form 11) or R11 for rooming accommodation.|
|Repairs or maintenance (e.g. safety switch and smoke alarm installation)||24 hours||Entry can occur without notice if the property is located in a remote area and there is a shortage of tradespeople.|
|Follow-up inspection to check on repairs undertaken||24 hours||Entry must occur within 14 days of the maintenance or repairs being completed.|
|Show property to a prospective purchaser||24 hours||A reasonable amount of time must have passed since the last entry for this reason. There are different rules for open houses.
The property manager/owner must give the tenant a Notice of lessor’s intention to sell (Form 10) which must include details of how they plan to market the property.
|Show property to a prospective tenant||24 hours||A reasonable amount of time must have passed since the last entry for this reason. There are different rules for open houses. The tenant must have also given a Notice of Intention to Leave (Form 13) or a Resident leaving Form R13 for rooming accommodation, or received a Notice to leave (Form 12) or Form R12 for rooming accommodation.|
|To allow a valuation of the property||24 hours|
|If the property manager/owner reasonably believe the property has been abandoned||24 hours|
|Tenant agrees to entry||At the agreed time|
The Refund of rental bond (Form 4) should be completed and sent to the RTA when the tenancy has ended.
The quickest and easiest way to get a bond refund is for the tenant and the property manager/owner to reach agreement about how the bond is to be paid out.
- there must be an agreement on how the bond should be paid
- everyone listed on the bond signs the refund form
- refunds are generally processed within 2-3 working days
Please note, the time it takes for your refund to appear in your account will vary from one financial institution to another.
Refunds are only paid into Australian bank accounts (no cheques).
- not everyone signs the same bond refund form, and/or
- there is no agreement about how the bond should be paid
When this occurs the RTA:
- releases any undisputed amounts
- holds any disputed amount/s, and
- sends a Notice of claim to the people who did not sign the refund form. They will have 14 days to dispute the bond claim.
The RTA may assist with dispute resolution if a dispute resolution request is received with 14 days.
Notice Periods exist for ending a Tenancy, and they can be found by following this link: Notice Periods for Ending a Tenancy (RTA)
To end a tenancy early you must:
- Always inform the property manager/owner in writing of your intention to leave.
- You may be asked to pay:
- reasonable re-letting costs (usually 1 week’s rent plus GST)
- reasonable advertising costs (if incurred), and
- compensation for loss of rent (until a new tenant is found or until the end date of the agreement whichever happens first).
- The property manager/owner is legally required to minimise any costs associated with breaking the lease. If you feel they are not mitigating this loss, contact the RTA for assistance.
- You and the property manager/owner mutually agree in writing to end the agreement early on a specific date, or
- Give the property manager/owner a Notice of intention to leave (Form 13) and leave the property (you will probably need to pay compensation), or
- Get your property manager/owner’s approval to transfer your interest in the property. If you have paid a bond you will need to fill out a Change of bond contributors (Form 6), or
- Apply to QCAT to end the agreement due to excessive hardship (if you have evidence to support the application).
In the event your property needs repair, please complete our repair form, which can be found here
The property manager/owner is responsible for ensuring the property is fit to live in and in a good state of repair. The tenant must notify them of any repairs needed.
If a tenant, or their guest, damages the property, they may have to pay for repairs.
Example 1. If a tenant breaks a window by throwing a ball through it, they are responsible and have to pay for repairs.
Example 2. If a window falls out of the frame, and breaks, due to ageing putty that may be fair wear and tear and the property manager/owner may have to pay.
The property manager/owner generally carries out any repairs or organises someone to do so.
There are 2 kinds of repairs:
- routine, and
- emergency (general tenancies only).
The property manager/owner must carry out repairs within a reasonable time and comply with the entry rules.
There are no rules about emergency repairs in rooming accommodation (apart from entry rules) and the tenant must not arrange emergency repairs.
- it is best to inform the property manager/owner of required repairs in writing
- timeframes for repairs vary depending on the circumstances (e.g. availability of tradespeople) and the type of repairs needed
- the tenant should not carry out repairs without written permission
Property manager/owner does not carry out routine repairs
- If the problem has not been fixed, the tenant should try to resolve the issue by talking to the property manager/owner.
- If routine repairs are not organised within a reasonable time, the tenant can issue the property manager/owner with a Notice to remedy breach (Form 11) giving them 7 days to fix the problem. Rooming accommodation tenants use Notice to remedy breach (Form R11) giving the property manager/owner 5 days to fix the problem.
- If the problem cannot be resolved the RTA’s dispute resolution service may be able to help.
- The tenant should never stop paying rent to ensure repairs are made. Non-payment of rent is a breach of the agreement.
The tenant should contact the property manager/owner or the nominated repairer (listed on the tenancy agreement) about the problem. It is a good idea to put the request in writing as evidence of notification.
If they cannot be contacted, the tenant can arrange for a qualified person to carry out emergency repairs to a maximum value of 2 weeks rent.
Emergency repairs are:
- a burst water service or a serious water service leak
- a blocked or broken toilet
- a serious roof leak
- a gas leak
- a dangerous electrical fault
- flooding or serious flood damage
- serious storm, fire or impact damage
- a failure or breakdown of the gas, electricity or water supply
- a failure or breakdown of an essential service or appliance on the property for hot water, cooking or heating
- a fault or damage that makes the property unsafe or insecure
- a fault or damage likely to injure a person, damage property or unduly inconvenience a tenant
- a serious fault in a staircase, lift or other common area of the property that unduly inconveniences a tenant in gaining access to, or using, the property.
All other repairs are considered routine repairs.
Paying for emergency repairs
If the tenant pays the repairer they need to give all receipts to the property manager/owner who must pay them back within 7 days.
Alternatively, the tenant may ask the property manager/owner to pay the repairer directly.
Disagreement about emergency repairs
If the tenant and property manager/owner do not agree about the emergency repair, or if the tenant has not been reimbursed for repairs within 7 days, they can apply to QCAT for a decision