Know your tenancy rights in NSW
Are you moving to Australia for your studies?
Moving to a new country for studies can be very scary but finding a suitable place to live without getting exploited is a whole other story. But no need to worry, we are here to guide you. By the end of the article, you will know everything there is to know about your tenancy rights in NSW. Our intention with this article is to inform you all there is to know about leasing a place and becoming a tenant.
Types of tenancy options for international students
You may find a few options to choose from when finding accommodation during your studies in Australia. There are:
- Private rentals
- On-Campus accommodation
- Student apartments
Which one of these is suitable for you depends on your selection criteria, such as the list of following elements:
- Your budget: Does your required rental fall under your budget? Or how much money can you spend on a rental?
- Location: What area do you have in mind about renting? As the commute to the university and other local shops shouldn’t be too long.
- Facilities: What are your requirements when it comes to facilities? Such as the furnishings, a chair, and a desk, or some other more extravagant facilities like gyms, pools, etc.
- Commute: Is public transport easily available from your chosen site?
Places to look for Tenancy options and properties
After you know the answer to all these questions, you may start your research. You can take help from the following outlets, such as:
Accommodation advisors at your institute
Notice boards for accommodation
These are some of the services that can be availed from the institute; however, you can also look online to choose accommodation. Using the following websites:
Some sites specifically target students, such as:
Inspection of the properties
Now that you have scoured the web and spoken to some people about the tenancy, it is time to check out the properties you are interested in. This process can take a while as you will have to set time with the property manager, who will then take time with the landlord and arrange visitation accordingly. This process is officially called inspection of the property. You may be asked for your identification and other details before the inspection.
However, once you have chosen a property that you like and have decided to go forward with it, all you need to do is fill out the Application. The Application requires you to fill out all the required fields for a higher chance of getting your selected property. The Application will require information that you may not have at that very moment, such as:
- Rental history
- Employment details (if you secure a job in the meantime.)
- References or guarantors
- Personal details such as identification (this you will have for sure)
Leasing and Bond
Once all the information mentioned on the Application checks out, there is no stopping you, except the bond. Before you get settled and cosy in your new place, you will have to sign a lease and pay the bond. The lease is a document that outlines all the important things, such as the following:
- Tenure of the lease
- Amount of the rent
- Payment method and when it will be due.
- The amount of the bond
- Number of inspections during the tenure
- Other particulars that the tenant must fulfil
Bonds are refundable security submitted while signing the lease. They are then submitted to the authorities of the state. Bonds are security for the renter. In case the tenant causes any damage to the property, they can be used for repairs and maintenance. Hence it is key to take pictures of the property during the inspection session or before moving in to be sure that whatever damages exist are not caused by you.
The NSW Tenancy Act
In the NSW state, all the tenancies come under the Residential Tenancies Act 2010. This helps out by having a standardized tenancy agreement that both the tenants and the landlords must abide by. This Act allows the NCAT, the Civil and Administrative Tribunal, the authority to step in and resolve disputes (if any) between the landlords and the tenants; disputes can be related to anything from maintenance to bonds.
Tenancy rights in NSW as per the Act
The Act provides the tenants with many rights that they are mostly uninformed by the property manager, or they don’t do enough research before making the deal. Some of the points in these acts are as following:
- You have the right to receive copies of the residential tenancy agreement, a complete report by the agent/landlord about the property’s condition, and the New tenant checklist by the NSW Fair trading.
- The property should be in a livable condition, such as cleanliness and other maintenance.
- Unless you make monthly bank transfers, you should receive rent payment receipts from your landlord.
- You have the right to ask for at least one mode of payment method that doesn’t incur any extra charges.
- In case of a continuing lease, the landlord can raise the rent only once in 12 months.
- In case of an increase in the rent, the landlord has to give the tenant a 60-day notice period.
- You should have the ability to enjoy your space without the interference of the landlord. As the landlord or the agent cannot interfere with your possessions within the premises.
- It is a part of the Act that you have a right to complete peace, privacy, and comfort.
- The landlord must provide security and locks to ensure not only privacy but safety.
- To have some minor maintenance work, you will have to inform the landlord in advance to make the arrangements. Nevertheless, you do have a right to get maintenance done.
- The tenant is allowed to make minor changes to the place, such as installing curtains or other easily removable memorabilia.
- The landlord will pay any urgent repairs that may have cost you up to $1000.
- If the landlord has breached the tenancy agreement, the tenant has the right to apply to the Tribunal.
- If the landlord intends to end the agreement, they must give a written notice mentioning the intention of terminating the agreement.
- In case there is a change in the name and address of the landlord or the agent, the tenant must be notified so that they are reachable.
- Tenants have the right to refuse access to the landlords if the tenant has not been notified beforehand.
- Landlords cannot evict the tenants without any reason.
So, these are all the tenants’ rights as per the NSW Act, and you, the tenant, should be aware of them before going through with signing the agreement and paying the bond. Hopefully, we have covered everything you needed to know in this article. However, if you still have questions, feel free to contact us using our FB pages or WhatsApp/Telegram.