As a tenant you have certain rights, but you also have responsibilities – as does your landlord.
The responsibilities of each party are set out in the Residential Tenancy Information Brochure. It is the responsibility of your landlord or property manager (if the property is being leased through an agency) to provide you with a copy before you sign your rental lease.
- Lease agreement
- Extending and ending leases
- Maintaining your rental property
- Making changes to your rental property
- Solving disputes
A lease agreement (or tenancy agreement) is a legally binding, written contract signed by both the tenant and landlord. It specifies a range of obligations such as the amount, frequency and method in which rent should be paid; type and duration of tenancy (fixed-term or periodic); and other conditions that detail the rights and responsibilities of both parties. The terms of the lease agreement cannot be changed, unless both parties agree to the change. This includes the amount of rent, unless a specific condition is included in the agreement before it is signed.
More information about what should be included in your lease agreement is available on sa.gov.au.
Extending and ending leases
Towards the end of a rental lease period (usually six or 12 months), the landlord can issue a notice of lease extension or you can enter a new lease agreement if both of you are happy for a rental arrangement to continue. If you or the landlord don’t wish to extend the lease, written notice must be given. Notice must also be provided by the tenant or landlord to end a periodic lease.
Details on the amount of notice that must be provided and the circumstances in which it is required are available on sa.gov.au.
If you’re ready to move out and move on, use this moving out checklist to avoid end of tenancy disputes, unexpected costs and affecting your ability to secure rental accommodation in future.
Breaking your lease
Information about how to break your rental lease, including any potential financial implications.
Getting your bond back
A step-by-step guide on how to get your bond back at the end of your lease.
Maintaining your rental property
Landlords and tenants share the responsibility for repairs and maintenance of rental properties. When maintenance or repairs are needed you must ask the landlord to fix the problem, which they are required to do within a reasonable time frame.
Your landlord must give you at least 48 hours’ notice to enter the premises to carry out the repair, unless the repairs are needed urgently, for example to ensure the safety of tenants (e.g. a gas leak).
Renter privacy rights
Information about when a landlord can enter a rental property and how much notice must be given.
Rental properties must meet minimum housing standards in South Australia. If you are concerned about your property because of problems such as plumbing not working properly, doors not locking, large cracks in the walls, then the Housing Safety Authority or SA Health and can assist you.
Housing Safety Authority: www.housingsafetyauthority.sa.gov.au
SA Health: 8226 6000
While it is the landlord’s responsibility to pay for building insurance, you will need to have your own contents insurance to cover you for the damage or loss of your personal belongings at your rental home.
Making changes to your rental property
You cannot make changes to a rental property without prior written consent from your landlord.
Examples of changes that need to be approved include:
- painting (inside or outside)
- removing trees or plants from the garden
- installing a new air conditioner
- inserting picture hooks into a wall.
If you make changes without your landlord’s permission you may be asked to return the property to the original condition at your own cost before the tenancy ends.
There are tenancy advocacy groups such as RentRight SA that can assist you to sort out disputes with your landlord, including problems with your lease or bonds, property maintenance and unpaid rent.
A free independent tenant advisory service to help you maintain your tenancy in private rental, community housing or public housing. RentRight SA can assist with issues relating to leases, bond disputes, property maintenance and unpaid rent.
If you believe you have been discriminated against based on personal characteristics, you may be eligible to lodge a complaint under the Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (SA).