The number of documents you receive when entering a rental agreement can be overwhelming. To help you protect your rental rights as you live in the property, this blog post outlines the key documents you need to identify and review carefully:

  • The rental agreement
  • The incoming condition report; and
  • Bond Lodgement emails

Rental agreement

A rental agreement is a legal contract between you and your landlord. It includes terms about:

  • the amount of rent and bond
  • when and how rent must be paid
  • how long the rental agreement lasts
  • what happens if you want to leave the property early and the costs that might be involved in doing this, and
  • any special rules, like whether you will be responsible for utilities or if your pet can live there too

Condition report

A condition report contains information about the condition of the property when you move in. It should record the condition of every room and space, including walls, doors, skirting boards and floors. Anything that is not working, damaged or broken should be noted. It is the main piece of evidence outlining what your property looked like when you moved in.

Your landlord or their agent must give you a copy of the condition report before you move in. If they don’t give you a condition report, you should still go ahead and fill out a condition report yourself.

Once you’ve moved in, you should immediately inspect the property and make sure the condition report contains information about anything that is damaged, broken or dirty. You can also take photos and send them to your landlord or their agent. Listing every issue you see will not get you in trouble with the landlord, because you’ve already signed the lease. Ensuring the condition report is accurate will protect you later on, if there’s a dispute about whether you cause damage to the property.

You must send a copy of your signed condition report to your landlord or their agent within 5 business days of moving in. You should also keep a copy.

Emails from RTBA

A bond is money you pay before you move into a new property. It is usually returned when you move out of the property, unless the property has been damaged. In the meantime, the bond is held by the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority or 'RTBA'.

In most cases, your landlord cannot ask you to pay a bond that is more than one month's rent.

Once you’ve paid the bond, your landlord must deposit the bond with the RTBA within 10 days of receiving it. You should look out for an email from the RTBA confirming your bond has been received - when you receive this email, review it closely to make sure your name is spelled correctly. Save this email because it contains your Bond number, and you can use it to check your bond on the RTBA portal any time.

We last updated this page in November 2022. Please remember that this is only legal information. If you're thinking about taking action, you should chat to a lawyer for advice about your situation first.

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