Know Your Rights and Responsibilities
It is very important to understand your rights and responsibilities before paying any money or making any agreements.
A lease, also called a residential tenancy agreement, is a legal contract between tenants, and landlords.
A lease outlines:
- Rent costs
- Bond charges
- Length of the tenancy
- Tenancy conditions
Regardless of whether your lease is written or verbal, it is important you understand the content of the agreement as it can be very difficult to end your tenancy before the lease end date.
A bond is a payment made at the start of your lease as a security deposit, in case of property damage, and is usually equal to a month’s rent. You and the accommodation provider or agent must complete a bond lodgment form from the Residential Tenancy Bond Authority (RTBA). This form must by lodged by your accommodation provider, with your bond money within 10 business days, for which you’ll receive official confirmation from the RTBA in the mail.
Whether paying a bond or not, you should always complete a condition report, and take photos of any damage. This is used as evidence of the condition of the property when you move in and out in case of any dispute.
Rent in advance
In most cases, your will pay your rent in advance. If you pay rent weekly, then the accommodation provider cannot ask for more than 14 days rent in advance.
As a tenant, it is as much your responsibility as the accommodation providers to understand your rights and responsibilities. The Tenants Union Victoria publishes a wide variety of fact sheets in a range of languages.
Remember to keep all relevant documents and receipts in a safe place. Make sure all communications between you and the accommodation provider are in writing, signed and dated.
Repairs and maintenance
All repairs are the landlord or accommodation providers responsibility, but if the tenant or resident caused the damage, the landlord or provider can ask them to arrange or pay for repairs.
Set procedures must be followed when dealing with (urgent or non-urgent repairs). Tenants and residents must continue paying rent even when they are waiting for repairs to be done.
Landlords and accommodation providers also have a responsibility to respond to all repair requests promptly as it is the landlord’s duty to ensure the property is maintained in good repair. It is important for the landlord/provider and tenant to communicate all information about repairs in writing, and to keep copies for future reference.
Need more advice or help
- Contact the team for off campus accommodation guidance
- Get free legal advice through the Deakin University Student Association (DUSA)
- Talk to Consumer Affairs Victoria to help you with rental information and advice. CAV also offer a conciliation service.
- Download the Consumer Affairs Victoria Rentright App for important information and tools to help you manage your tenancy.
- Contact the Tenants Union Victoria to assist with free and confidential advice if you have a tenancy issue, or simply learn more about your rights through their large range of publications, in multiple languages.
- Engage with the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria (DSCV) for free mediation to help resolve disputes between yourself and your accommodation provider.
- Visit the Study Melbourne Student Centre, set up by the State Government of Victoria to provide information, support and advice to international students living in Melbourne.