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:
- Renting a Home: A Guide for Tenants by Consumer Affairs Victoria
- Copies of your condition report
- Landlords contact details and written indication as to whether or not the agent can authorise urgent repairs (and if this is the case the maximum amount the agent can authorise to spend).
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.
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.
During a tenancy
Your responsibilities as a tenant
- Connecting your utilities (water, gas, electricity) and phone.
- Paying rent on time.
- Keeping the property in the same condition it was in when you first moved in.
- Reporting any damage to your landlord that you or a visitor caused.
- Notifying the landlord of any repairs that are needed.
Your landlord's responsibilities
- Lodging bond money with the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority (RTBA).
- Provide you with the Renting a Home: A Guide for Tenants and Landlords from Consumer Affairs Victoria.
- Repairing and maintaining the property.
- Giving you privacy.
Tenancy publications to help with your rights and responsibilities are located on each campus through Accommodation Services, Internal Student Services, La Trobe Student Union and Bendigo Student Association.
When you want to move out you need to give a minimum of 28 days written notice of your intention to vacate to your landlord. This does not apply to rooming house residents, where you are required to provide at least 2 days notice.
If you gave notice to the landlord that you were moving out, you can move out prior to the notice expiring. You will be liable however for rent until the end of the notice period, unless the landlord is able to find a new tenant before the notice period expires.
Conditions for bond return
When you leave accommodation you need to ensure the property is left in a clean condition. If you do not leave the property adequately cleaned and restored to its original condition your landlord may make a claim against your bond.
For the return of the bond, you and the accommodation provider need to sign a bond claim form. The bond claim form is then sent to the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority (RTBA). The return of the bond to you may take a couple of weeks. If you and the accommodation provider are in disagreement in relation to the return of the bond, the provider must apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal for an order that they be paid part of all of the bond within 10 business days of your tenancy ending. Refer to the step-by-step guide to bond recovery factsheet produced by the Tenants Union of Victoria for more information about the return of your bond.
If you are renting a property you will also need to disconnect utilities and ask for a final utilities reading (allow at least 48 hours). If you fail to disconnect services you may be paying for utilities after you have left the property. For shared households, call the utility company and request to have your name removed from the account.
Redirecting your mail
You can complete a mail redirection form at the post office to have your mail sent from your current address to another address. Find out more about redirecting mail.