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As a tenant it is as much your responsibility as the landlord’s to understand your rights and responsibilities. A student pack which includes relevant information you should know prior to starting a tenancy is available from the Off-Campus Housing Service. The Tenants Union Victoria publishes a wide variety of fact sheets which you may find helpful. These are available in a range of languages.
Remember to keep all relevant documents and receipts in a safe place. Make sure all communications between you and the landlord or real estate are in writing, signed and dated.
Do I have to pay rent in advance?
In most cases, your rent will be payable in advance. If you pay rent weekly, then the Landlord cannot ask for more than 14 days rent in advance. For more information see Completing Application Forms.
Do I have to pay a bond?
Your landlord can ask you to pay a bond. A bond is a security deposit (usually equal to one month’s rent) that you pay to the landlord or real estate agent at the start of your tenancy. At the end of your tenancy the landlord may be able to claim all or part of your bond as compensation for any damage to the property including for unpaid rent.
If you pay a bond make sure you sign a Residential Tenancy Bond Authority lodgement form and retain the yellow copy. In addition, make sure you complete a Room Condition Report before you move in. The condition report is your evidence of the state of repair of the property prior to and at the completion of the tenancy, and is used to determine if your bond will be repaid.
Can a landlord keep your bond in his own bank account?
No. If your landlord takes a bond from you they are required by law to give you an official, completed and signed ‘Bond Lodgement’ form for you to sign. A copy must be sent to the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority (RTBA), once lodged you will receive an official receipt within 21 days.
What is a Rooming House?
Have you heard of a Rooming House? You may be living in one right now!
Rooming houses are the most commonly chosen accommodation option by students.
A Rooming House is a building where:
What must a Rooming House provide?
Did you know a Rooming House MUST have:
What are house rules?
The landlord can set and change rooming house rules. You need to be told about any changes in writing, at least 7 days before the change begins. You must obey the rooming house rules – not doing so could result in receiving a Notice for Breach of Duty and possible eviction.
Fire safety is important not only for your safety but the safety of your housemates and neighbours. It is your landlord’s responsibility to make sure there are smoke detectors installed throughout the house, but it is the tenant’s responsibility to make sure the batteries are changed regularly. If you have any concerns about fire safety you should approach your landlord immediately.
Will furniture be provided?
Landlords are not responsible for providing furniture unless specified. If it is provided all furniture must be in working condition and clean. A landlord is not allowed to take a separate ‘furniture bond’ from you.
What should I do if I think something is not right?