Residential tenancy agreements (leases)
We provide the following prescribed forms for residential tenancy agreements:
Long-term leases must be in writing, using either Form 1 or 2. For more information, view our Long-term leases section.
Special conditions may be added to the prescribed agreements but only if they do not exclude, restrict or modify tenants’ and landlords’ rights and obligations, as set out in the Residential Tenancies Act 1997.
You must give a copy of the lease - with the details of the proposed tenancy included - to the tenant before it is signed. Once both the tenant and landlord sign it, you must give a copy of the signed document to the tenant within 14 days.
You must also give the tenant the following items before they move in:
You cannot charge tenants fees for:
- beginning, continuing or renewing a tenancy agreement
- preparing a lease
- supplying keys and security devices to each tenant named on the lease
- issuing a rent card for rent payment
- the establishment or ongoing use of direct debit facilities.
Under the Residential Tenancies Act 1997, you must lodge residential tenancy bonds (also called rental bonds or security deposits) with the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority (RTBA). Generally, the maximum amount allowable for a residential tenancies bond is four weeks’ rent. For more information on bond amounts in short-term and long-term leases, view our Lodging the bond page.
You can generate a bond lodgement form in RTBA Online. Submit the form and bond payment to the RTBA within 10 business days of receiving the bond.
The RTBA can accept:
- bond cheques and money orders made payable either to you or the RTBA
- electronic transactions from agents or landlords who are registered with the RTBA as property managers.
The RTBA cannot accept bonds paid in cash.
Generally, you do not have to deposit a rental bond in your trust account. However, if you receive a cash bond from a tenant, you must deposit the money into your trust account and send a trust account cheque (or electronic transaction, if registered) to the RTBA for the bond amount.
Ending a lease
Landlords and tenants can mutually agree in writing to end a fixed-term lease at any time before the lease’s end date.
For information on when a landlord can give the tenant a written notice to vacate, view our Landlord giving notice to vacate page.
If the tenant wants to end the lease, they must give 28 days’ notice of their intention to vacate, with the 28th day falling on or after the lease’s end date. If they are on a month-by-month agreement, the tenant can give this notice at any time.
If a tenant wants to end a lease earlier than the required notice period (break the lease), they can be charged re-letting fees, re-advertising fees and rent lost while the premises are vacant. You can find more information on our Tenant giving notice of intention to vacate page.
For information on bond claim processes at the end of a tenancy, view our Releasing or claiming the bond page.
Retail, commercial and industrial leases
We do not have jurisdiction to deal with retail, commercial or industrial lease disputes. Our jurisdiction covers only residential leases.
Please seek legal advice or contact the Office of the Victorian Small Business Commissioner, which provides information and dispute resolution services for retail tenants. For more information, visit the Retail tenants and landlords page on the Victorian Small Business Commissioner website.
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