Residential Tenancy Rental Agreements Northern Territory
Northern Territory Residential Tenancies are subject to and governed by the Residential Tenancies Act 1999. The Act came into force on 1st March 2000 to regulate the relationship of landlord and tenant under residential tenancy agreements. The Act covers most people in residential tenancies and it applies to both verbal and written agreements.
The act applies whenever a landlord grants a right of occupation of residential premises, or part of premises to another person for the purpose of use as a residence in exchange for rent in the Northern Territory. However there are many exemptions to this rule. For instance the Act does not apply
- to borders or lodgers where there are less than 3 people in the premises
- to caravan park accomadation like mobile homes etc
- if the premises are used as a holiday home
- to premises provided for charitable purposes such as homeless or disadvantaged persons.
- If there is no rent payable or service are provided in exchange for accomodation.
For a complete list of exclusion under the Act consult section six (6) of the Act.
Before the tenant moves into the rented premises or enters into an NT Residential Tenancy Agreement there are several documents that they must receive from the Landlord or the landlords agent. These include a written copy of the lease if a written agreement is used and a condition report completed in the presence of the tenant.
Its recommended that both the tenant and the landlord read a copy of the Information handbook A Guide to Renting in the Northern Territory. This booklet is a guide to the rights and responsibilities of the tenant and those of the landlord. Copies of the booklet are freely available from the NT Consumer Affairs Tenancy unit.
The tenant must be given time to read and understand the terms of the tenancy agreement and the condition report before being asked to sign it. They are also entitled to seek appropriate legal advice if necessary.
The Tenancy Agreement
The lease or residential tenancy agreement is a binding contract between the landlord and the tenant. It is made up in two parts, the first part defines the rights and obligations of the parties as prescribed under the act and the second part is the property condition report. The landlord or the landlord's agent must give the tenant a signed copy of the tenancy agreement within seven(7) days of the agreement being executed by the parties.
Within 3 days of the tenant taking possession of the premises, the landlord must provide the tenant two signed copies of a condition report. The landlord fills out and signs 3 copies of the condition report and gives two copies to the tenant. The tenant indicates agreement or disagreement with the condition suggested by the landlord or landlord’s agent by placing a tick or a comment in the correct space. If they believe the report does not represent the true condition of the premises, this is the time to sat so. The tenant must return one signed copy of the completed condition report to the landlord or landlord’s agent within five(5) days after the tenant receives the report and keeps the second copy.
If the Landlord requires that the tenant pay a Security deposit, the amount payable cannot be more than 4 weeks rent and the landlord may only accept or require one bond in relation to a residential tenancy agreement. Landlords (not agents) are required to hold security deposit in trust for the tenant and must pay it back to the tenant at the termination of the tenancy (provided there are no claims against the security deposit). see part 5 Div2 of the Act for more details.
Rent in Advance
The tenant may be required pay a maximum equal to rental payment period's rent in advance from the first day of the tenancy. This is negotiale and at the landlords option.
Terminating an Agreement
Terminating agreements must be done in a fashion compliant with the Residential tenancies act of 1999.
It is most important that when a tenant or landlord or agent attempts to end the agreement that it is done in such a way that it is consistent with and legal under the Act. There are three main ways to end a rental agreement, including:
• agreement of all parties to end the tenancy early, or
• a landlord or agent gives a ‘Notice to Vacate’ to the tenant, or
• a tenant gives notice to the landlord or agent that they intend to vacate.
In some cases the Commissioner of Tenancies or the Court may make an order to terminate an agreement.
Unless the landlord has breached the terms of the fixed term agreement, the tenant is committed to honour their obligations for the duration of the term. Once the fixed term tenancy has ended, both parties must give 14 days notice in accordance with section 101 of the Act.
If the tenant breaks the agreement early, the Landlord may claim compensation for any loss suffered, including maintenance expenses on the property until the landlord finds a new tenant or the original tenancy period expires.
Residential Tenancy kits for the Northern Territory are available from RP Emery and Associates as a downloadable MS word document. Unlike a hardcopy agreement, the MS word document can be used repeatedly and it also allows a certain amount of flexibility to edit as you see fit.
Northern Territory Residential Tenancy Agreement Available for Immediate Download More Information Click Here
By Ian Macleod