Note: the purpose of this page is to provide community and advocacy organisations with an English-language version of the equivalent pages we provide in our Other languages section. For our full information on renting, view our Renting section.
Beginning a tenancy
Before you rent a property, you will need to have a written or verbal tenancy agreement and have enough money to pay the bond.
- A tenancy agreement (also called a lease) is a contract between you and your landlord. It states the rent, the bond, the length and type of tenancy and other conditions and rules.
- Make sure you understand everything in the tenancy agreement before you sign it.
- Get the landlord or agent’s contact details.
- Most landlords will ask you to pay a bond. If you fail to keep the property clean, damage it or owe rent at the end of your tenancy, your landlord can claim some or all of the bond.
- If your landlord takes a bond, they must:
- lodge it with the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority
- give you a completed bond lodgement form for you to sign
- prepare a condition report, which notes the general condition of the property.
- Contact the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority if you don’t receive a bond receipt within 15 days of payment.
- Your bond receipt is important - don’t lose it. At the end of your tenancy you will need the receipt so you can apply to get the bond back.
- Your landlord or agent must give you two signed copies of the condition report before you move in. Check the property is safe and tell your landlord or agent if you notice any safety risks, such as inadequate pool fencing or obvious electrical problems. Inspect the property and fill in the report, noting any existing damage such as cracks, marks on the walls, or broken handles. Also note on the condition report if you disagree with what the landlord or agent has written.
- Return one signed copy of the condition report to the landlord or agent within three days of moving in.
- Keep a copy of the condition report. You might need it at the end of your tenancy if there is a dispute about who should pay for cleaning, damage, or replacement of missing items.
- Contact the water, electricity, gas and telephone companies of your choice to ensure these are connected by the time you move in. Generally, it is your responsibility to organise these services and pay the bills.
During a tenancy
You have certain rights and responsibilities when renting a property.
- Pay your rent on time. You are entitled to receive a receipt for each rent payment.
- Keep the property reasonably clean. If you don’t, or if you damage the property, you may not get the full bond back when you end the tenancy.
- Don’t renovate, alter or redecorate the property without the landlord’s consent.
- Respect neighbours’ peace and privacy, and ensure your visitors do the same.
- Your landlord or agent has the right to enter the property, but they must give you at least 24 hours’ notice in writing and tell you why they need to enter the property. Valid reasons are listed on our Landlord or owner entry to property page. They can also enter the property at an agreed date and time, as long as it is not more than seven days after the agreement.
- Tell your landlord or agent about any repairs that need to be done.
- Contact your landlord or agent if you need an urgent repair. Urgent repairs are things that make the property unsafe or unable to be lived in; for example, damage to pool fencing, electrical equipment or a heater, a burst water service, serious roof leak, leaking gas appliance or broken toilet system. You can find a full list on our Urgent repairs page.
- The landlord or agent should respond immediately to a request for urgent repairs.
- If you do not get a prompt response from your landlord or agent, you can authorise the repair for up to $1800. Keep all receipts and a record of your attempts to arrange the urgent repairs.
- You can then give your landlord or agent a notice asking them to pay you back for the cost of the urgent repairs. They have 14 days to pay from the date they receive the notice. Forms are available from our available from our Forms and publications page.
- If you cannot afford to pay for the urgent repairs, the cost of the repairs is more than $1800 or the landlord refuses to pay, call Consumer Affairs Victoria for advice.
- Make a request for non-urgent repairs to your landlord or agent in writing. You can write a letter or email or use the forms available from our Forms and publications page.
- Keep a copy of all letters, emails, text messages, forms and reports, so that if there is a problem or dispute, you have proof of all your actions and requests.
- Call Consumer Affairs Victoria if the landlord or agent has not done the repairs within 14 days of being given notice.
Ending a tenancy
When you want to move out of a rented property, you must give your landlord the correct amount of notice and leave the property in a clean condition.
- Tell your landlord or agent in writing when you plan to leave.
- Check with Consumer Affairs Victoria to find out how much notice you must give. This will vary depending on your situation.
- Discuss the return of the bond with your landlord or agent.
- Complete the bond claim form and return it to the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority. The form must be signed by you and your landlord or agent.
- Do not sign the bond claim form if you disagree with how much of the bond the landlord is claiming. Contact Consumer Affairs Victoria for free advice.
- Never sign a blank bond claim form.
- Pay any outstanding rent and bills.
- Clean the property and take all your belongings with you.
- Keep the condition report in case of a dispute.
- Leave a contact address and phone number with your landlord or agent.
Important things to remember
- Do not sign anything unless you understand what it means.
- Never sign a blank form, even if it looks official.
- Keep a copy of anything you sign.
- Ask for a receipt every time you have to pay for something.
- Keep your bond receipt and any other receipts for rent or repairs in a safe place.
- Seek free advice from Consumer Affairs Victoria if you have a renting problem or question.
Last updated: 11/12/2013