Tenants, get control of your rights!

by Chris Lang on November 16, 2008

House For Rent Sign
You’ve heard me – tenants have rights too. There may not be enough rentals on the market and 50 people compete on every single house that is advertised, but that is not an excuse to let the landlords and the agents push you into the corner. Here is what you are entitled to (in Victoria):

They can’t reject you because of your kids

It is against the law to discriminate against tenants with kids. The only exceptions to this rule are:

  • when if the property is unsafe for your little ones
  • when the property is owned by government and is intended for childless people or
  • when the property is place of residence of the landlord, who is temporarily renting it but will be returning

The bond

The bond can’t be higher than 1 month’s rent. If the landlord or the agent wants to get a higher bond, they have to go to VCAT (Victorian Civil & Administrative Tribunal) and get approval.

The only exceptions to this rule are

  • when weekly rent is higher than $350 and
  • when the house is landlord’s place of residence and the tenant will only live there until the landlord moves back in. There should be a clause in your tenancy agreement saying so.

In those two cases the bond is unlimited.

Another important thing to know is that the amount of the bond is only set once and can not be increased while you are renting.

What if they do demand a higher bond without any bases? You can complain to VCAT and they will be fined $500.

The rent

Rent is paid in advance, so the first question that rises – how much in advance?
If you pay on weekly bases – nobody can demand more than 2 weeks of rent in advance.
If you are not paying weekly and a week’s rent is less than $350 – only pay in advance for one month of rent.

If rent wasn’t paid on time

Even if you forgot to pay the rent and paid the next day or even next week – they can not throw you out. Only after 14 days of not paying the rent, agent/landlord has the right to give a tenant notice to vacate.

Ways of paying the rent

No matter how you pay, via direct debit, rent payment card or otherwise, they can not charge you for issuing a rent card or creating a direct debit agreement.

What if they do? Complain and they will get a $1000 fine.

Rent increase

If you have a fixed agreement – they simply can not increase rent. When you’re on periodic agreement, they can’t increase your rental payments unless there is a clause about it in your agreement. That clause should also say how much they can increase the rent.

You are completely safe in the first 6 months of tenancy and they can’t increase more than twice a year, 6 month between the increases. By law you must be notified 60 days before the increase in a written form.


Neither the landlord nor the agent can come and inspect your rental during the first three months. After tat they can come once every 6 months and must give you at least 24 hours written notice. Also they can’t barge in on you any time – only between 8am and 6pm and never on public holidays.

Leaving your rental property

To leave a rental (in the middle or in the end of contract) all you have to do is to send a written notice to the agent by registered mail 28 days (at least) before the day you move.

{ 75 comments… read them below or add one }

June Gibson January 13, 2009 at 12:32 pm

What if youve had a small accident in the litchen which has burnt the benchtop and the landlords insurere say they wont cover it and the strata management people say you have to pay for the full replacement of the bench after all the repairs have been done and you were advised by the property managers that everything was covered by insurance? We are looking ata bill for $3000 payable in 21 days for something we werent aware of?


Chris January 13, 2009 at 3:19 pm

Sorry to hear that, June, it doesn’t look good. By the law you’re responsible for all the damages to the property and will probably be required to pay for the repairs. Sometimes landlords have a clause in their insurance policy that covers accidental damage from tenants, but from what you’re saying it looks like your landlord doesn’t have that. Many policies cover the intentional damage, but not the accidental one. However you’re saying that they assured you that everything was covered and then suddenly said the opposite – if you’re in Victoria, try the Consumer Affairs help line (1300 55 81 81) or google “tenants right” and your state and you’ll find an appropriate authority in your state. They will at least tell you what your options are. Good luck, let me know how that went.


monica October 22, 2010 at 12:32 pm

hi, we r breaking the lease due to change in job and we have contract of 12 mths in this house. Its just been 3 mths living here. Now until how long do we need to pay the rent? what if the agents don’t find new tenant. How long dowe have to bear the rent ? pls reply.


Chris October 22, 2010 at 1:46 pm

Hi Monica, the laws may be slightly different in different states, where do you live?


Meaghan February 14, 2011 at 4:54 pm

I have been renting now for years, and have absolutly never had a problem. The first inspection i had in my current house, i got a letter thanking me for keeping it so good. I had an inspection about 3 weeks ago, with a new property manager. Today i got a letter stating that quote ‘ we advise that we require you to attend the following, few cobwebs to be removed, oven dirty, and ceiling fans dirty. ‘
My question to you is, is having an inspection meant to be a white glove test and do i have any rights here? Thankyou


Chris February 21, 2011 at 8:40 am

There probably is a clause in your contract (many contracts have it) that says you have to keep the property “Reasonably clean”. Now the definition of “reasonably” varies from one property manager to another, obviously 🙂 But they can make your life pretty miserable when they begin issuing “fix this, fix that” notices and come to check you did it every two weeks.


jerika March 2, 2011 at 7:32 pm

hi there,

ok so my and partner and i have come to the end of our lease… we have currently been off a lease for the last 3 weeks with no contact from our landlord (private rental) . and now we have made a decesion to move are we able to just move out without the 28 days notice?? the landlord has actually only givin us a week to move which i dont mind. but all i want to know is that fair?
and when receiving your bond back do you get the 2 weeks in advance back aswell we are up to date on everything with no missed payments ??
thanks 🙂


Chris March 4, 2011 at 8:09 am

Hi Jerika, the length of notice depends on the state where you live, are you in VIC?


Queenie March 15, 2011 at 2:12 pm

Hi there,
my housemate and I have been renting a unit for the past year. Before we signed the least agreement, when we were inspecting the unit, we specifically asked the real estate agent about the maintenance of the driveway (shared by 3 units) and was told we do NOT need to worry about any gardening/maintenance in the driveway as it is under the body corp. During the first 3 mths of our stay we noticed that the weeds have overgrown into the driveway and requested maintenance by the landlord, which they have done and we were not asked to pay. During our 12 mth lease we’ve had multiple inspections and on each report we receive after it has always stated that maintenance of the driveway weeds is the responsibility of the landlord. However, few wks ago the driveway had weeding done again, and this time the real estate sent us a letter requesting that we pay half of the $320 bill of gardening of the driveway. We wrote back protesting this as we were clearly told that the driveway is not our responsibility but real estate still insisted that we pay. What are our rights? Thanks!


Chris March 16, 2011 at 2:05 pm

Hi Queenie, I guess your rights in regard to this are defined in the contract – what does your rental contract say about the gardening / maintenance fees? If it’s not defined, I would ring the Consumer Affairs of Victoria(if you’re in VIC) or the relevant organization in your state, to ask for advice. They most probably have dealt with many situations of the same kind, so they will be able to advise where the law stands in this regard.


richard stubbs December 4, 2011 at 6:54 pm

I am renting a house in S.A. and the landlord has asked me to make rental payments by direct debit. I notice that the rental agreement states rent to paid on the Monday of each week by direct debit. I have lived here for over a year and always paid by cash deposit into the landlord’s bank account. Can he insist on a direct debit payment?


Ollie December 12, 2011 at 7:15 pm

Hi Chris, Hopefully you are still monitoring this site and might have some insight on this issue! I have a strange issue but it has caused me to become quite peeved at general renting. Basically I live in an apartment building in Melbourne, and the other night we were on our balcony (26 stories up) and there was a bottle on the air condition unit that we had – and it got blown off by the wind – pure accident. Except that we now have a complaint against us saying that we ‘threw a bottle from our balcony’ and that we will have to pay for the body corporate charge for them to clean it up. The issue here is, that the bottle was never thrown, and the glass mostly remained behind our air condition unit as it fell behind it, and only a small amount of glass went to the connected balcony. A few questions, one – do complaints stick next to your name with the actual incident, as in I would like to dispute the fact that any bottle was ‘thrown’ . And – was the body corporate actually needed to come in to clean any other mess that occured and are we truly liable? Since it landed on our neighbours balcony as well, it seems a bit unfair that they would launch straight to a complaint without actually consulting us. I remember reading somewhere that the body corporate should try and instigate a discussion between quarrelling neighbours rather than having complaints lodged straight away, is this true? Where do you think I stand in this issue?



Andrea Garzon December 14, 2011 at 11:51 am

I’m at my wits end now could you please offer some advice.

So I’ll list all the issues which the Real Estate Agents are already aware of and what has been actioned. Note that this is a brand new property that we moved into.

1. Oven wasn’t working for 2 weeks. The technician called us up we had to do the fidling around and eventually had to reset the master switch and put the oven on in a certain manner to get the thing started. Problem Solved.

2. Sensor light worked on the first day we moved in and was the only day that it worked. Have spoken the the Real Estate Agent and one of the maintenance crew were out today (2 months after the fact) and had a look at it. The bulb was fine but it seems that we have blown a fuse somewhere and the electrician has to come out now to have a look. Issue not resolved.

3. Heater not working. There is ducted heating through the whole house but the unit does not seem to be working at all. We have been up in the roof reset the whole thing as tole to over the phone by the company who installed it. We have had an air conditioning technician out to have a look and he couldn’t get it working. They have logged in a service call. The maintenance crew that were out today said it wasn’t the same one that they had installed. We have no idea what is going on with this heater. Issue not resolved and it’s been going on for 2 months.

4. The laundry. This was an absolute joke how it was missed. Firstly the water to the laundry sink was not connected. Secondly the S bend connecting the base of the sink to the drain was not installed. Finally the orientation of the sink was wrong. The space for the washing machine was directly in front of the door under the sink meaning once the machine was in the access would be blocked and the drainage hole for the washing machine in the sink was diagonally opposite to where the washing machine was. The water and the S bend were fixed up today. The sink orentation however has remained and we were told that they would have to return another time to rectify this.

5. The cables under the house apparently have been cut. So we have no phone and therefor can’t get internet. We have paid for the connection but apparently it’s up to the land lord or that’s what we have been told to have the cables fixed. Issue not resolved.

What can we do in this situtation?
It’s not like we can refuse to pay the rent can we?
Would we be able to ask for a decrease in the rent?

My partner and I have already taken a fair amout of time off work to have these issues sorted out. We don’t get paid for this.
Due to some of the issues we have had to use external places. eg laundry as we couldn’t use our washing machine, internet cafes and mobiles we don’t get reimbursed for this.

What rights do we have?

Please help


Pare December 14, 2011 at 1:24 pm

Good afternoon,

In Re: Accidental House Fire, qld

The property we rented at 2-3 months ago was subject to a house fire, where we lost everything. We had relatives visiting the day it happened. Our 3 year old nephew took hold of a lighter, went upstairs to our sons room and lit a mattress, by the time the smoke alarm had alerted me, we only had enough time to get the other occupants out. We alerted the Real Estate Agency most immediate, 2 days later we received a phone call from Our Property Manager who needed to arrange a meeting to see us asap. At the meeting we were informed that the Owners had actually taken possession from the Agency some time ago & that they are no longer manage the property, she then gave us a Cheque for the total amount of rent we had paid in advance (3months adv) as well as the Bond Release papers to get our bond money back. She then informed us that the owners still owed us an amount of $900+ for rent paid in adv to them. Our dilemna is; we don’t know where we stand legally, are we liable for damages? What do we do from here? We’ve made several calls to services in the hope that they would be able to shed light on our situation, but no success.


Jasmine December 21, 2011 at 9:10 pm


I had a housemate that just gave me notice verbally (21/12/11). She moved in on the 28th February, 2011. Could you let me know which date she has paid up her rent? She wants to stay til the 31st December. I thought she has paid to the 28th December. I am in Victoria and she has only really given me 7 to 10 days notice. What do I owe her in the bond? Thanks


Lisa January 29, 2012 at 12:21 pm

hi chris,

i have recently vacated a property, and was under the impression that when i signed the lease and paid the bond and the the first months rent in advanced that the first months rent would be used as the last months rent at the end of my lease, it is now at the end of my lease and the agent is expecting me to pay the final month rent, is this correct? do i have to pay the final month? if so.. whats the point in paying the month in advance?!


Chris January 31, 2012 at 10:08 pm

Hi Lisa,

It should be as simple as that: if you’ve lived 12 months in that rental house, you should pay for 12 months, not 13. The bond doesn’t count towards the rent, you pay it in the beginning of the tenancy and get it back at the end of the tenancy. Hope that helps.


Amanda February 8, 2012 at 5:53 pm

Hi Chris,

I have just completed renting a place for 6 months and decided to move. In our initial agreement with the agent we have agreed to pay the rent in full. We have paid it in full. But now that we are moving, the agent mentioned that we need to pay an extra one day of rent before we can get back our bond as it is written in the tenancy agreement that the rental will end on 10th but our payment receipt is till 9th. Should we pay?

Secondly, the agent has requested to inspect the rented unit on 30th but they have instead came on 29th and 31st without our knowledge. They have also put up an advertisement on 31st for inspection of the rented unit without our knowledge. The unit was still rented out to us until 10th the next month. Is this legal? If we were to take legal actions what further actions can we take?



Chris February 9, 2012 at 11:05 am

Hi Amanda,

The extra day of rent sounds confusing – but in general, if your contract ends on the 10th then you should pay till the 10th inclusive.

The agent should have given you a notice prior to the inspection, and they should have come on the day of the inspection, not the day before or after without your knowledge. You probably could take legal action – but what would you want to achieve with that? The best thing is to consult a tenants’ advocate, you can find the contact details in this article http://www.homeiown.com/renting-a-house-and-have-a-problem-heres-how-to-get-help/



Reianna February 13, 2012 at 2:20 pm

My partner and I are renting a room in a sharehouse 600$/week. Before we moved in we had a verbal agreement (no contract) with the owner/leaser to pay 2 weeks bond ($1200) plus 2 weeks rent ($1200) prior to moving in, and we verbally agreed to give 3 weeks notice before moving out. From our understanding of what we were told/agreed to, the two weeks RENT in advance was to cover our last two weeks at the house if we decided to move out, and the 2 weeks bond was more like a security deposit. We moved in on a sunday (rent week is monday to monday, pay rent on thursday), and we moved out on a sunday as well. We gave our notice on the day the rent was due, but since the leaser wanted 3 weeks notice, we paid for that week and expected to get the next two weeks covered by our *2 weeks in advance like we thought, and moved out 2 weeks later on a SUNDAY, so before the next rental week started. We now have been told that the leaser has taken half of our bond out to pay for one of those weeks, and is now expecting us to further pay from the thurs-sunday. We are so confused, and have been informed we are only getting 600$+ 2 days rent back, from the 2400$ we put in. If anybody knows if this is all correct and the leaser is doing the right thing, please let us know. it doesnt sound right to us!


Jody February 17, 2012 at 2:40 pm


My sister in law has caused some accidential damage to her rental. She left some food on the stove and it ultimately caused considerable damage to the kitchen. The landlord when through his insurance, and she ended up getting a bill for $16000 which involved brand new kitchen, stove, extractor fan, painting and 8 weeks loss of rent.

My concern is that
1) as a tenant there are no insurance policies she could of had that would cover structural damage to property – renter’s insurance as fair as I am aware does not cover damage to landlords property.
2) under the act, the landlord (in this case substituted by the insurance company) cannot replace goods for ones of a more expensive nature – like for like (i.e. the extractor fan was a $60 bunnings job and they replaced it with a very expensive one approx $300, same with the other appliances) and they can not charge you new for old. Given that the kitchen was at least 10 years old and the stove did not work shouldnt have this amount been discounted for appropriate wear and tear.

The insurance company has forwarded the bill to the debt collector and they are threatening going to court. Do you know who would be the best people to contact to help her. She agrees that she needs to pay something but not replace a whole kitchen that was most likely needing some sort of renovation anyway.

Thank you


Chris February 17, 2012 at 10:41 pm

Hi Jody,

Your sister in law should definitely get some legal advice. Please show her this article http://www.homeiown.com/renting-a-house-and-have-a-problem-heres-how-to-get-help/ – there is a list of organizations to contact that can help renters in trouble.

If you happen to find out how her dispute was settled, please post a comment here, for the sake of others in a similar situation. Thank you!



matt February 26, 2012 at 10:14 pm

my partner and i have been living in our rental property since january 2011. after a month or so we started finding mice and we were catching 3-4 a week in traps, as we knew we had signed a 12 month lease we thought there was no breaking the lease (without it costing us a fortune). we had our baby in july last year and havent seen mice since about april 2011 so we were assming that the mice had gone and we could be a happy little family. we signed a new 12 month lease just over a week ago and the day after signing the mice have come back as bad as last year (we have caught another 4 so far since signing). since our daughter is now at crawling stage and we have caught 4 in a week can our property be deemed unfit for human habitiation as we do not feel we can leave her on the ground at all and the fact they might be in her clothes or even worse her cot? we love where we live but cannot stay where we are as our daughter cannot crawl anywhere, my partner has a phobia of them, its costing us a fortune in traps, we feel like we are walking on egg shells in our own home.
is there a way to get out of this lease without it costing us another 12 months rent?


Chris February 27, 2012 at 11:07 am

Hi Matt,

So sorry to hear about the mice problem! We’ve had the same problem, so I know how you feel.

Before thinking about breaking the lease you may want to consider getting pest control people over, either paying for that yourself or getting the landlord to pay.

To find out the definition of “unfit for human habitation”, read the document linked here http://www.tuv.org.au/articles/files/practice_notes/Practice_Note_Unfit_for_human_habitation_2.pdf. You could also contact the Tenants’ Union or similar organization in your state to get their advice.

Please keep updating us here.



Giles February 27, 2012 at 9:43 pm

Hi Chris,

Just wondering –

A group of 5 of us were approved to rent a fantastic terrace in North Carlton. We were approved on the Friday, being told that we can sign the paperwork early next week and move in straight away.

The agent held an open for inspection on the Saturday, citing it was too late to cancel it.

Come Monday, we expressed our desire to read the lease before signing off on it, and that we would move in Thursday ideally. He has then turned around to us and said that they have another applicant who is willing to sign immediately and pay up-front, and that this other applicant is getting the property.

Once approved, do we have any rights that protect us? Was it proper for the agent to hold an open for inspection after approving us? And, what would you suggest we do from here?



Chris February 27, 2012 at 9:57 pm

Hi Giles,

Do you think maybe you guys were discriminated against because there would be 5 of you living in the property, as opposed to just one/two other applicants?


Giles March 2, 2012 at 7:51 pm

Nah, I don’t think it was discrimination based on number of applicants, as the property was of a size that caters for 5, and having us all on the lease would have provided added security to the owners.

I think it was just a matter of owners being in a desperate position, and the uncertainty of our group wanting to review the lease prior to signing as opposed to a group willing to sign on the spot.

At the end of the day, the agent made some misrepresentations that were probably borne out of inexperience, and have resulted in an unfortunate result. Just goes to show, if a place ticks the right boxes, delay can only lead to disappointment.

Anyway, back to hunting….


Kody February 29, 2012 at 12:00 am

My partner and I have been renting our house in victoria for just over 2 years. Ours landlord contacted us a week ago to let us know that she was selling the property. We currently have a six-month lease for this property (until 3rd August 2012) and i was wondering if we move out early and break lease, would be liable for any extra rent? as our landlord is not looking to re-let the house. This is our first time renting through real-estate agency and not dealing directly with our landlord and i’m confused as to what we are supposed to do with the situation. I have three small children and with not many rentals in our area, my husband and i want to be assured that we have a house to move into before she gives us notice that the house has sold and we need to vacate! Please help!


Bella March 2, 2012 at 4:14 pm

I have received a letter from my Real Estate after I gave them 28 days notice to vacate after my contract ended. According to the Residential Tenancy Act for Victoria, the Real Estate/Landlord are allowed to show the property to prospective tenants in the last two final weeks I am occupying.

Now, with the letter my Real Estate agent sent to me, she clearly wrote “ Unless we hear from you, we trust that you will allow prospective tenants to inspect prior to your vacating”
And, I wrote a letter the next day saying: “I would also like to advise that I do not wish to have any inspections prior to the date of my departure.”

Since she clearly stated in the letter that if she did not hear from me, she would assume that I am giving consent for inspections while I’m still residing at the property. I know that they have the right to inspect the place 2 weeks prior my departure, but does what she wrote in the letter count?


Chris March 3, 2012 at 11:32 am

Hi Bella,

It could be just a standard letter, a template they send out without really thinking about it. Also, it could mean that you can object, but whether or not they will hold the inspections only after you’ve left, is at their discretion, no promises made?


jen March 10, 2012 at 8:30 am

i want to break my lease and want to advertise the property myself as the agent is a bitch and hasnt done a thing to help find a suitable tennant to re-lease the house for me. am i able to do that?


Chris March 11, 2012 at 11:33 am

Hi Jen,
sorry to hear about the agent trouble 🙁 you can find a tenant yourself of course. The landlord will have the final word on whether they approve the new tenant or not, but if the agent’s doing nothing it looks like your best shot. Good luck!


Julie March 12, 2012 at 3:05 pm

Hi there,

Just a small problem that needs clarification please. I’m in a rental house and have been for the last three months [12 month lease]. I am responsible for lawn mowing and yard maintenance under the lease. Yesterday, my next door neighbour came over while I was mowing the lawn and asked if she could help by doing some mowing for me. I agreed. After the lawns were mowed she kept the mower going as she took it back toward the garage. The driveway is gravel and unfortunately a stone flew up and broke a small pane of glass in one of the front windows. My questions is: Should the landlord claim the window break on his household/landlords insurance as accidental damage or am I responsible for paying for the repair? I’ve asked around and have been given differing answers so I hope you can clear this up for me. Thanks!


Chris March 12, 2012 at 10:27 pm

Hi Julie,

It’s difficult to say because
a) your landlord’s insurance may or may not cover the “accidental glass breakage” (depending on the insurance policy type)
b) even if it does he will have to pay excess when making a claim, and then he may want to transfer that cost on to you, in that case you may be better off paying for repairs yourself
c) he may decide not to be bothered with an insurance claim and just demand that you pay for the glass
but I think the key is to ask and find out as much information as you can, so you could decide on the cheapest option for you.


Jessica March 21, 2012 at 10:35 pm


I am renting in VIC. I paid a bond and signed a lease yesterday and then tonight found out i need to move back home to live with a sick family member. I am not due to move in for two weeks and i have not paid rent in advance. Will i be able to get my bond back?

Thank You


Chris March 22, 2012 at 9:06 am

Hi Jessica, you need to give a notice to the estate agency straight away, because they will need to keep advertising the house. They can charge you for the advertising and loss of rent, but hopefully they will be able to find a new tenant shortly, so the loss of rent won’t be big.



Sam March 27, 2012 at 11:46 pm


We recently signed a lease to a house we are to move into in a months time and paid a months rent in advance at the time of signing the lease. Today the agents contacted us to say the owners would like to add an additional clause to the already signed tenancy agreement – to say that the owner will inspect the property every 3 months giving 24hrs notice, in addition to the agents 6 monthly inspections. I would like to check if this is okay for them to do as 6 inspections in 12 months seems excessive (I’ve only ever had 2 per year in previous properties). I am in Victoria.
Thanks for your assistance.



Patricia March 28, 2012 at 5:26 pm

Hi Chris,

My sister and I are renting a property since 4 Feb 2012. We noticed mice activity since we moved in but initially though it was poor cleaning. It took us good couple of weeks to get settle and we started to realize that the mice were still there. Towards the end of Feb we contacted the agent to mention the situation and were advised to put poison around. We did it initially for 3 weeks without results so we requested the agent to have a Pest Control Company treat the property. It has been already 9 days since they placed baits all around the house and no change. We are concern about the risks of having the mice all over the house and also because the pest control person said the house was infested and would be very hard to exterminate. Based on that and in the fact that the kitchen and wardrobes are unusable due to the presence of drops, we asked to terminate the lease without penalty. The answer is no. They are asking us to pay the lease break fee plus rent till the house is rented again. What can we do?


Chris April 2, 2012 at 10:54 pm

Hi Patricia,
Sorry to hear about the mice problem 🙁 You could try and claim that the house is “unfit for habitation” to break the lease – if you contact the Tenants Union in your state, or the Consumer Affairs office, they will be able to help.


nathan March 29, 2012 at 5:07 pm

hi we have been renting for 6 years now and are moving out. we paid 2 weeks in advance plus bond plus first week we have never missed a payment now that managers are asking the rent be paid untill the last day of out lease wouldn’t the 2 weeks in advance cover it because otherwise i would have paid in total 2 weeks after my lease has ended ??


Chris April 2, 2012 at 10:51 pm

Hi Nathan,
Sorry I can’t work our whether you’re on a fixed term lease or not … if your lease is ending, and you gave a proper notice with the date you will be vacating then you should pay till the date. The bond doesn’t count towards your rent – you will get it back once you’ve moved out and the estate agents arranged the end of lease inspection (minus any damages of course)


Kim Lucas April 2, 2012 at 2:22 pm

we have not resigned our lease agreement in vic and have just found out we need to move back to perth.. How much notice to we need to give the realestate since we are not on a lease at the moment and will we be up for advertising costs since we have not signed the new lease agreement..Also can we say to them what date we are moving out or can they just tell us to pack up and leave since we not on a lease..
Thankyou Kim


Chris April 2, 2012 at 10:47 pm

Hi Kim,
Do you mean you’re renting on month to month basis? Then you only need to give them one month notice. You do need to give them a date and pay the rent till that date. They will schedule an end of lease inspection after you move out and then if everything is OK you can get your bond back. You should not be charged any advertising fees if you end the lease properly.


Cathy April 5, 2012 at 4:56 pm

Hi Chris,

I signed a one year lease with a friend of mine and it is about half way through that time. We have had some disagreements and I have moved out, but I am still paying rent. We agreed I’d pay until she finds somebody new and I’ve been doing this for 2 months. I don’t think she is making much of an effort and i’m worried that she is just going to milk me for my rent until the lease ends. What are my rights in these circumstances? I can’t keep paying for two places 🙁

Would appreciate your help very much!


Cathy April 5, 2012 at 5:04 pm

Hi Chris,

I signed a one year lease with a friend of mine and it is about half way through that time. We have had some disagreements and I have moved out, but I am still paying rent. We agreed I’d pay until she finds somebody new and I’ve been doing this for 2 months. I don’t think she is making much of an effort and i’m worried that she is just going to milk me for my rent until the lease ends. What are my rights in these circumstances? I can’t keep paying for two places

Would appreciate your help very much!


Pash April 11, 2012 at 9:28 am

Hi Chris, thanks for all the data in your blog. I have been living in an apartment with another person in it. (she holds the lease according to her). I asked to be on the lease from the beggining and she never complied. After three months i gave my notice (only three weeks) because she’s making my life dreadful in the house. Abusive notes and text messages to say less.
We never had an agreement on how long would my lease be, or any terms on when to vacate the apartment. Now she wants me to pay for broken things i haven’t even touched (a frying pan) and she wants me to pay an extra week (due to the 4 week notice). What should i do?
Help please


Chris April 11, 2012 at 10:49 am

Hi Pash,
It seems that from the legal point of view you have no obligations what so ever to the landlord – your name isn’t even on the lease. Does the landlord know you exist? Have you got anything in writing between you and the lease holder, any agreements you may have signed, anything at all?
– Chris


Ludmilla Budnik April 11, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Hi Chris
We’ve been leasing an apartment in Melbourne for more than 2 yrs now – the lease was signed until end of Aug 2012. The apartment had a problem from the beginning of its lease – it started to leak from one of the light lamps, then the ceiling started to leak in a couple of place in a lounge room. The agent and body corporate had been trying to deal with that problem by sending technicians to property, drilling holes in ceiling – nothing really happened until May 2011 when we took that issue to VCAT who ordered to do the repairs within one month. After that we agreed with the owner to pay reduced fees until the repair has been done and have been waiting for another year now. The holes are still there, we get regular emails from the agent saying that the landlord is in the process of settling the issue with insurance, body corporate and etc., but nothing is moving fast. We are looking for other available properties around and think we find something suitable earlier than the end of our lease, will we need to pay any extra fees for breaking the lease? The condition is not suitable for lease in the condition it is now – it needs to be repaired first. So, do we have rights to advice 28 days before we vacate and not pay until the end of lease? Thank you. Ludmilla


Sindy April 11, 2012 at 5:53 pm

Hi Chris, We signed a 12 month lease of which we have completed 7. We have paid our rent on time and have taken very good care of the property. Due to a change in location per our job, we have to break the lease. We currently pay 700.00 per week plus utilities of which our last electric bill was 910.00 for a three month period. The house does have a pool. At this time also the owner has informed us that he is switching property managers due to “personal” reasons. I contacted the current managers and they said they are thinking they will turn the whole matter over to the new property managers. My question is how long do we have to pay the 700.00 weekly rent? Will a transition of this kind take long? I know it will rent as the housing in Mackay is very hard to come by. Is there a limit as to how long it will take to re-rent or are we obligated by law to continue to pay the 700.00 per week until our lease is up in September. We live in Queensland. Thanks for your advice.


Veronica April 12, 2012 at 10:38 pm

uld bHi, I vacated a property in July it was only a 6 month lease. The agent told me to take it how it was because the owner wouldn’t fix anything so I did. I paid my rent on time and made sure that the property was left in a cleaner condition than when I moved in. The house is fairly run down with many things broken I will name just a few to be short, Cracks in all walls, from the building moving, tiles lifted off walls, stained glass in hallway door broken and just hanging there about by masking tape, 5 segments left out of 20, the rest in a hall cupboard. aluminium foil taped over where stove filter shoe. Masking tape (black) holding one skirting board on and also over 2 light switches. Big split in Bedroom ceiling. I never had any problems with the agent. I was horrified to hear however that a new tenant was moving in and had signed the lease without first inspecting the property. Is this allowed? From the moment the tenant moved in she complained about a smell, so I negotiated $300 to clean and deodorize the building, something I wasn’t altogether happy about! 2 weeks later there are fleas there so many they have had to fumigate 3 times? Tenant would not stay and agent insists I had a dog there. There is no fence at the property so fat chance having a dog there! They just keep accusing me of lying. I think I would have noticed if there were fleas there. What do I do. Agent wants entire bond plus compensation? Hearing is next week. I supect the tenant was just horrified with the condition of the property and was looking for an out. Thanks Veronica


Melissa April 30, 2012 at 5:42 pm

Hi Chris

Please could you help as I’m at my wits end.

We have been renting in Victoria for 2.5 years and have given notice as we are moving to WA. During this time the property has been managed by 2 different agents.

On our last inspection report, the agent listed a dent in the garage door and asked us to explain this. The dent was there when we moved in but was not listed on the initial inspection report. We did however, send an email to the initial agent on the Monday after moving in and seeing this. I still have a copy of this email, but the second agent claims they have no such thing on the file received from the first agent. We are now left with a “he said, she said” situation.

The dent is really tiny and you can only see it from the inside of the fully functional garage door, which is why we missed it initially. Will the landlord be able to put a claim in against our bond for this?

Also, is the homeowner allowed to accompany the agent on inspections without informing the tenants? The homeowner accompanied the agent on very inspection but we were never notified of this.

Any help or guidance would mean a lot.



Sarah May 3, 2012 at 4:14 pm

Hi Chris.
really looking for some advice please. my fiance and i have recently had to break lease on a fixed term property in the ACT. i am confused about the 2 weeks rent in advance we payed when we moved in. because we need to keep paying till a new tenant is found there is no way to stop paying 2 weeks prior to the tenancy ending. we are 100% up to date on our payments as we pay weekly.
will the real estate refund us this money or is it lost cash?? 🙁
thank you


Dustin May 7, 2012 at 8:17 pm

I have had an inspection after my first three months now it’s three months later and they want anthor inspection is this leagle? I thought they could only come in the first three months then in anthor six.


Athalie May 9, 2012 at 12:15 pm

Hi there. If you pay the late rent owing ON the 14th day of it being overdue, is the real estate agents in their rights to place you on the list? (even after they said no you would’nt be) And if so, if they take you OFF the list, IS it noted that you WERE on it to begin with?! Please I hope someone can help!


JJJJ May 11, 2012 at 5:38 am

Hi. A few texta marks on the wall-but has marks already as clearly stated on the ingoing inspection sheet-Is it fair for landlord to charge me for repainting that room-


chris May 17, 2012 at 2:35 am

hi Chris if you could answer this easy short question asap as our inspection is today 5pm its simply can the real estate agent look in cupboards? and where are they allowed to look and not to look

thank you very much Chris looking forward to a speedy reply please cheers Chris


Chris May 21, 2012 at 5:57 pm

Hi Chris, I am sorry I saw your comment only now so it’s probably too late because you needed an answer earlier. In any case, I don’t think there is a law about where the real estate agents are allowed and not allowed to look. If you don’t want them looking in a certain place why not just lock that particular cabinet. In all my years renting I’ve never had an agent open a drawer or a cupboard, they hardly ever touched anything in the house.


shell May 19, 2012 at 9:20 pm

hi chris,
after a tenancy agreement has ended, can a landlord start working on the inside of the premises painting ect, before the bond has been signed back to the previous tenants?? i had 2 things that needed fixing before my bond would be returned from the real estate now since the landlords have been doing work to the inside i have a list of things, and these things are making me really down as i left the house 100% better than when i moved in, are they allowed to commence work on the inside of the house even though the bond has not been sent back, do i have a leg to stand on here???, ps i have lived in this 50year old dump for 2 years never missed a weeks rent, and have wonderful inspection reports, thank you


Chris May 21, 2012 at 5:53 pm

The normal flow of things is the estate agent/landlord conducts the final inspection, tenant gets their bond back based on what the rental property looked like at the time of final inspection, then the landlord is free to do whatever they like with the house.
– Chris


Julie May 24, 2012 at 7:35 pm

We’ve been renting here for 0ver 3 years and the interior hasn’t been repainted for about 6 years. Was just wondering how often is the landlord supposed to repaint as it’s very dull and the walls have changed colours due to cooking etc.


Inez Evans June 3, 2012 at 8:14 pm

Hi i have a important urgent question!! Iam from Armidale NSW 2350, i signed a lease but decided to break the lease due to the fact of unable to finacially pay for the rent on my own, i have not paid bond for this place nor have i even accepted to accept the bond payment from Housing Commission, i havent been given a key to the house becuase i have not paid bond or two weeks rent in advance! Ray White Real estate is saying i owe them $304.00 for rent! i have not even lived in the house, and they want a tribunal ..what is my rights legally? regards Inez


Chris June 4, 2012 at 4:56 pm

Hi Inez,

The tribunal may decide to rule in your favor if you can prove that renting the place would put you in a significant financial hardship. I hope you sent something in writing to the property managers as soon as you found out you can’t rent that property.

– Chris


jason June 4, 2012 at 6:53 pm

Hi, i”m in a private rental, i have fallen behind in rent and have received an eviction notice, two days later a real estate agent turns up with a new lease starting from today(day of settlement). My question is what happens to my debt do i owe the old landlord or the new. The real estate didn’t even mention it.


Laura June 5, 2012 at 5:13 pm

Hi Chris,
My partner and I rented a townhouse for 3 years. The property was old and in need of some repair. We reported all issues, had regular inspections and were never once late on rent. When we moved in the garden was not spectacular and we actually had to get the owners to clear overgrown ivy and plants. When we moved out the real estate agent claimed that part of our bond would be kept to fix the garden as plants needed replacing etc. None of the plants were dead when we moved out, the garden maybe needed a sweep and rake due to trees but was not in a bad condition. The agent has no receipts to show the work done or plants bought etc. Do they have a right to firstly withhold part of our bond and secondly not provide evidence of where they came to the monetary figure they are withholding?

Can you assist as to what our next steps should be?

Many thanks!


Chris June 5, 2012 at 6:05 pm

Hi Laura,

If you and the real estate agents can’t agree on the bond return you can apply to VCAT (if you’re in VIC) for a hearing to resolve the matter. This webpage explains how to handle this (follow the link) http://www.consumer.vic.gov.au/housing-and-accommodation/renting/rental-bond-and-condition-report/claiming-the-bond-tenants-and-residents


Lorenza June 6, 2012 at 7:48 am

Hi, I have accidentally dropped and destroyed a 2 years old AC unit.
I’ve offered to replace it with a 2 years old unit that has the same power or even the same model. The land lord wants me to buy it new or give him the money to pay for a new one. But shouldn’t we consider the depreciation of the unit I damaged? Isn’t this considered betterment?

Thank you!


Dina June 20, 2012 at 8:48 am

Hi, I have signed a 12 months lease, however the lease period has not yet started. I am supposed to take possession of the keys in about 8 business days. Is there a way to terminate the lease and get my bond and first month rent back?


Chris June 20, 2012 at 11:51 pm

Hi Dina, you need to notify the estate agent in writing as soon as possible that you’re not going to be moving in. Not sure they will let you walk away without paying anything, but the sooner you tell them, the better.


Nicole June 20, 2012 at 11:34 pm

Hello hopefully I can get some answers 🙂
My rent increased in January this year and they didnt start taking out the extra rent until March and now in June she texts me saying Im in arrears from January to March of $270.00 when I called her to ask her to explain why it took so long to tell me im in arrears she had no answer I asked to speak to someone else and she said there is no one else to speak to. as she is the new property manager. I emailed her after the conversation to email me with a letter stating its there stuff up not mine cause we are depending on my good rental history to buy a house and now its gone to crap even though I was paying my rent a week early every month for two years. What is the right for the tenant in this situation…….Thank you


Chris June 20, 2012 at 11:50 pm

Hi Nicole, where exactly did the record of you being in arrears go? Maybe you’re worried over something that is not a real problem. Once you’ve paid what you owe them they can simply forget about this, it wasn’t your fault anyway. I am just suggesting you check if there is any official record in a database.
– Chris


Susie June 28, 2012 at 9:16 pm

Hi Chris ,

We were advised our landlord will be knocking the house down at the end of our lease. At the final inspection they weren’t happy that the colourbond fence had some small dints around the property. Now they are saying they are getting quotes. The fences were always in bad condition and I wanted to know why a whole fence has to be replaced when it is only more wear and tear than was already there? Does this warrant us to replace the fencing ? We think they are just trying to get us to pay for a new fence for when there new house is built? Please help, thank you susie


Chris June 29, 2012 at 12:32 am

Hi Susie,

Replacing the whole fence at your expense would be unjust, especially if the condition report mentions the dints / wear and tear to the fence at the beginning of your lease. But even if it doesn’t, it seems unlikely that your landlord can justify a complete fence replacement at tenants’ expense. You don’t have to go along with this.

– Chris


Hoang Do June 29, 2012 at 12:26 pm

I finished my lease 6 weeks ago, but did not get back my bond from the agent . When I returned the house there were some minor damages which I agreed to pay for recovery. But the agent seemed lazy having those madages done, so could not give me final bills till now.
Please advise what actions could I take to deal with this situation ?


Ricardo casquete June 29, 2012 at 9:54 pm

Hi Chris, first of all I just wanted to say that you are doing an amazing thing by helping everyone. Just wanted to know if you knew where I can get a depreciation schedule. My landlord wants me to replace things in the apartment that are clearly damaged because of natural wear and tear. Many thanks


Chris July 1, 2012 at 11:12 am

Hi Ricardo, thanks for your comment. I think an accountant will be able to help you with a depreciation schedule question. Also, your landlord shouldn’t be asking you to replace an old item with a new item. For example if your landlord claims you broke and old stove, you should replace it with a stove of the same age but in working condition (or have it fixed?)


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