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A tenancy will usually exist where one person (the tenant) pays another person (the landlord) for the right to occupy the landlordís premises for a certain period of time.
In NSW the various rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants are set out in the Residential Tenancies Act (NSW). The Act contains a standard form of residential tenancy agreement that cannot be varied. New terms can be added providing that they do not contravene the Act or are inconsistent with the terms prescribed in the standard form. All tenancies are covered by these terms regardless of whether this is a written agreement or not. Similar provisions exist for landlords and tenants in the ACT under the Residential Tenancies Act (ACT). Standard terms in a Residential Tenancy Agreement will include:
  • the agreement;
  • the rent;
  • rates and taxes;
  • the tenantís right to use premises;
  • the landlordís access to premises;
  • repairs and damage;
  • urgent repairs;
  • locks and security.
Tenancies generally fall into two types Ė fixed term and continuing. A fixed term tenancy is for a period of time stated in the tenancy agreement. If the tenancy continues after the agreed time period it becomes a continuing tenancy. During the term of the agreement, the rent cannot be increased unless such an increase is contemplated in the agreement. Moreover, rent cannot be increased unless 60 days notice is given. A tenant who breaks the fixed term agreement will usually have to pay costs.