What is a lease agreement?
A tenancy lease agreement is a legal contract between the owner of the property ( called the lessor ) and the person who rents the property ( called the tenant ). The agreement states what the conditions of the tenancy will be. For example, how much the rent will be charged or how many people can live in the home etc.
Types of Agreements
There are two types of lease agreements. The first is a fixed term agreement which specifies the date it will start and the date it will finish. Generally these agreements are for either 6 or 12 months in duration but they can be longer. These agreements are always in writing and are in a standard form ( form 1AA ) as prescribed by law. None of the conditions on the standard form can be omitted but other conditions can be added as long as they are legal.
The other type of lease is called a periodic agreement which must also be in the standard form. This type of agreement has no final date and can last for years. For example, the greater majority of tenants who rent properties from the Department of Housing are on periodic lease agreements.
If you have a periodic lease but it is not in writing you are still covered by the law.
What do lease agreements cover?
Lease agreements cover things like number of people in the property, rent details, bond details, rent increases, water usage, sub-letting, property condition reports, quiet enjoyment, use of the premises, the landlord’s obligations, urgent repairs, landlord’s access to the property, alterations or additions to the property and how to end the agreement. Other clauses can be added if both parties agree so long as they do not conflict with tenancy law or any other law.
When does the lease end?
If a fixed term agreement is from say January 6 to June 6, it doesn’t necessarily end on June 6 unless both parties, within 30 days of the end date of the lease, give notice of their intention to either renew it or not. In other words, a fixed term lease does not end until both parties have contacted each other.
Tenants who rent on periodic leases need to give 21 days’ written notice to the landlord if they wish to leave. If the owner wants the tenant to leave then 60 days notice in writing on the correct form must be given. If a property is to be sold and vacant possession is required then the owner must give 30 days’ notice to the tenant to move out.