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What Are Your Renting Rights As A Tenant?

By Claire Briggs

Rental properties provide the ideal place for first time buyers to save money before purchasing some real estate in Australia of their own.
A report from the Australian Bureau of Statistics found that the mean proportion of income required to pay the rent of a private dwelling is 20 per cent – basically unchanged since 1995, when records first began.
Furthermore, there are more people renting. Between 1995 and 2012, the proportion of Australians that were renting increased from 18 per cent to 25 per cent. You can only imagine that this number would have increased over the last three years, given the hot property market of late.
Most rental tenures go without a hitch, although there is the odd occasion when landlords and tenants don’t see eye to eye. This is why it’s important that you study all the paperwork and understand your rights – you never know when it might come in handy!
While we’ve already covered repairs and maintenance, here are just a few more things to remember.

What are my privacy rights?

While you live at your rental property, you are legally entitled to “reasonable peace, comfort and privacy”, according to Tenants NSW. This means that the landlord or property manager are not allowed to suddenly show up unannounced. Reasonable notice must be given, along with your consent.
Additionally, a guide from Consumer Affairs Victoria states that an inspection can’t take place until at least three months of continued tenancy, and no more than four times a year. The law does vary somewhat between states, so check with your relevant authority to confirm.

What if the landlord wishes to increase the rent?

Once again, how this is governed depends on the state that you reside in and whether you have a fixed term rental agreement.
Generally, you have to get at least 60 days notice, while the rent for a fixed term contract can’t be altered. If you feel like the landlord’s actions are excessive and not in proportion to other houses for rent in the area, you should take it up with your local tribunal.

What if the landlord wants to evict me?

There are numerous reasons for receiving a notice to vacate, and all – except acts that require immediate attention, like malicious damage or danger to neighbours – must be accompanied by a set number of days’ notice.
This can extend from being more than two weeks late with rent payments (14 days notice) to no specified reason (120 days), according to Consumer Affairs Victoria. Ensure to enquire with your local government to confirm the law within your state.

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