Signing a Lease

Signing the Lease 

Signing the Lease 

Prior to moving in to your new rental accommodation you must sign a tenancy agreement, or lease. This document will detail the rights and responsibilities of both you and your landlord, as well as:
  • The rental property address,
  • The amount of money to be paid as a security deposit,
  • How much is to be paid in rent and the frequency of payments,
  • The commencement and duration of the agreement/lease, and
  • The name and address of the landlord.
It is a good idea to ask for a copy of the lease to review prior to signing this document. Check all the conditions and Contact Us your Real Estate Agent should you have any concerns. Remember that this document is legally binding once signed by you and your landlord, therefore make sure you understand and agree with every word on the lease.
Quick Tips 
Once you sign the tenancy agreement/lease, you are entitled to receive a copy of this signed document. If you haven't received this within one month after signing the agreement/lease, follow it up with your Real Estate Agent.

Paying the Security Deposit

The security deposit is an amount of money you must pay to the landlord/agent prior to moving in to their residence. This money is kept as security against any substantial damage that may be caused to the property whilst you are renting it, or to cover any rent owing at the end of the lease.
The full amount of the security deposit should be accessible at the end of the tenancy, at which time you may be entitled to a full or partial refund of this money.
The landlord/agent is also responsible for ensuring you receive a receipt when you pay the security deposit. This receipt must:
  • Be signed by the person accepting the money,
  • State that it is a receipt for a security deposit,
  • Detail how much was paid,
  • Give the date the money was paid,
  • Give the tenant's name, and
  • Detail what property the security deposit is for.

Paying some rent in advance

The landlord may be entitled to receive some rent in advance when you pay your security deposit and sign the lease.
Remember - your periodic rental payments are paid in advance (not arrears).
Also make sure you obtain a receipt. A receipt given for rent in advance must:
  • be signed by the person accepting the money,
  • state that it is a receipt for rent,
  • say exactly how much was paid,
  • detail the period for which the payment was made,
  • give the date of the payment,
  • give the tenant's name, and
  • detail the property address.

Completing the Inspection Report

Once you have signed a tenancy agreement/lease and paid a security deposit, you should be provided with an Inspection Report (also called a Condition Report). This document provides a record of the condition of the property at the commencement of your tenancy.
This report lists all the features of the premises, room by room. For example, the condition of the walls, ceiling, windows, paint work, carpet, tiles, fixtures and amenities should all be itemised.
Each item is typically graded using a code to indicate good, fair or poor condition. Both the landlord/agent and the tenant are able to record their assessment of the premises - one alongside the other in two distinct columns. In most cases the landlord/agent will fill in the report with his inspection findings and then give you a copy to review.
Quick Tips
Check every item listed. If you do not agree with the appraisal of an item, write down your preferred grading. Also, feel free to add extra items to the list if you feel these should be recorded. If there is room to add comments, elaborate on any specific details you believe deserve special attention.

Once you have filled in the inspection report, sign it, and return it to the landlord/agent. The landlord/agent must then provide you with a copy of the final report, which they should also have signed.
Put your inspection report away for safekeeping. Hopefully you will not need to refer to it again. However, it may be useful when you end your lease to prove to the landlord/agent that the condition of the premises has not deteriorated during your occupancy. For example, the landlord/agent may claim some or all of the security deposit is needed for repairs. If the report says these repairs were necessary at the start of the tenancy, the tenant can prove that the security deposit money should be returned.
Quick Tips
Photographs are a great way to record the condition of the premises. It is worth taking several photographs, especially of areas where there is existing visible signs of damage. Use the date stamp on a camera or send doubles of the images to yourself by post and keep unopened for proof of the date when the pictures were taken.