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Understanding your rights and responsibilities as a tenant

Author: When it comes to renting, both you and your landlord share the burden of responsibility in ensuring the tenancy runs smoothly.

Understanding the written lease agreement
An official written lease agreement is the best way to ensure you both clearly understand your rights and responsibilities when entering into a tenancy.

Agents who are members of the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia have access to a standard residential property lease form which complies fully with Western Australian tenancy laws.

Your written lease clearly outlines your rights and responsibilities and lessens the chances of a dispute with the owner. We advise you to read the lease carefully before signing and keep a copy of the paperwork handy.

Rights and responsibilities
The rights and responsibilities you must adhere to during a tenancy are as follows;

Rights:
◦A copy of the lease.
◦Provision of clean premises at the start of the lease.
◦Bond money safely deposited in a trust account.
◦A condition report for the premise given to the tenant before occupancy noting any damage. This must be returned within seven days of the start of the lease with any additional damage added to the report.
◦Receipts are required for rental payments unless the rent is paid directly into an account.
◦Tenants to be given seven to 14 days notice of an inspection and 72 hours notice of access required for any repairs, unless this is urgent.
◦Tenants can expect repairs to be undertaken within reasonable time. The owner must see to all repairs, but the tenant pays if the damage is their fault.
◦60 days notice should be given for a rent increase.

Responsibilities:
◦Looking after the property and not using it for illegal activity.
◦Ensuring rent is paid on time.
◦Obtaining the owner’s written permission if someone else moves in.
◦Reporting all necessary repairs.
◦Requesting written permission to make any alterations.
◦Not disrupting the neighbours.
◦Ensuring the premise is in the same condition you found it when you leave.
◦Providing 21 days notice to terminate an expired lease that has reverted to a periodic tenancy.

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