Starting a tenancy

When you start a tenancy you enter into a lease agreement. Lease agreements can be both in writing or verbal and apply for a fixed term (for example six or twelve months) or be periodic (typically month to month). If you are given a written tenancy agreement, ensure you fully understand the agreement prior to signing. 

When you begin a new tenancy you should be provided with:

Condition report

The condition report provides evidence of the condition of the property when you moved in. It documents cleanliness, fixtures and fittings and existing damage. The report is essential as it may help you defend a bond claim or compensation claim for damage, or cleaning costs at the conclusion of your tenancy.

Ensure you go through the property room by room and make comments on the condition report if you find any damage (such as marks on the walls, carpet stains etc.). Once the form is completed and signed, return it to the landlord within three business days of moving into the premises.

Bond

A bond is a security deposit (usually equal to one month's rent) that you pay to the landlord at the start of your tenancy. When you pay a bond the landlord should sign a Bond Lodgement Form and give you the form to sign. The form should then be lodged with the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority within 10 days. At the end of your tenancy the landlord may be able to make a claim for all or a part of your bond as compensation for any damage they believe you made to the property or for unpaid rent.  
To help guide you through the process of starting a tenancy refer to the step by step guide produced by the Tenants Union of Victoria.