We may call ourselves the lucky country, but if you’re renter, it really depends on which state or territory you live in. That’s because here in Australia we have eight sets of rules for tenants and landlords, governed by eight different states and territories. Yes their are similarities, but all distinct in their own way, so being aware of these different tenancy legislations is crucial if you’re planning to invest or move interstate.
With the number of Australian households whom rent increasing to 31.4 percent, due to the big property boom, we now see more than 1.5 million households now own properties they don’t even live in.
Founder of Fresh Property Management Group, and real estate expert Braeden Tournier, explains that even with a federal government, each state retains the power to have its own constitution and legislature, resulting in eight sets of legislation for residential tenancies. Tournier elaborates tenant holding deposits as an example, where in Victoria the holding deposit must be returned, in ACT a holding fee cannot be accepted, and in Northern Territory anything goes. This goes to show how each state and territory vary, and the following categories should be explored.
It’s understandable that each state has different financial requirements and expenses. So how it collects taxes, such as stamp duty and land tax will vary, and it does. Using the March 2016 figures from ABS, the mean value of dwellings in Australia is $613,900. Buying a residential investment property at this price, the stamp duty ranges from $19,155.00 if you bought a property in the ACT to $31,904.00 in VIC (This is based on buying an established property as an investment. ACT=$19,155.00, NSW=$23,115.50, NT=$30,388.05, QLD=$20,650.50, SA=$27,930.00, TAS=$23,088.25, VIC=$31,904.00, WA=$23,175.25).
In NSW, Vic, WA and QLD there is no requirement to have telephone, television or internet cabling installed (however if any of these services are already installed, it is the landlord’s responsibility to make sure they remain in working condition). In the ACT the landlord must provide a telephone line and in SA the landlord needs to provide the installation of all three services. In Tasmania and the Northern Territory there is no mention of any requirements.
Maximum Rent in Advance
The rules in each state vary from two weeks to one calendar month. In Victoria it also depends on the amount of rent being paid and whether it’s weekly or not.
Tenant’s Notice To Vacate
14 days (NT, QLD, TAS), 21 days (ACT, NSW, SA, WA) and 28 days (VIC).
Landlord Ending A Periodic Lease
If a landlord wants possession of their property back so they can move in or an immediate member of their family, the amount of notice required to issue to the tenant ranges from TAS – 28 days, NT – 42 days, ACT & WA – 8 weeks, Vic – 60 days, QLD – 2 months, NSW & SA – 90 days.
In Tasmania and WA, a landlord can issue a ‘notice to vacate’ giving the tenant 14 days to vacate the property when a tenant is 24 hours late in paying the rent. And if the tenant in WA is continuously late the ‘notice to vacate’ can be reduced to 7 days. In other states and territories, a tenant needs to be either 7 or 14 days in arrears before a ‘notice to vacate’ can be issued. If a tenant fails to pay the rent up to date by the time the notice expires, the landlord can apply to the tribunal/court to evict the tenant.
Let’s not get started about pets. It’s complicated. The main point though is that allowing a pet is up to the discretion of the landlord. But it’s a big issue because, along with being a nation of renters, we are also a nation of pet lovers.
Access to a tenanted property
In an emergency, if you own a property in Victoria, you must give the tenant 24 hours’ prior notice before you can enter the property without the tenant’s consent. All other states, in an emergency, the landlord is allowed to enter the premises without consent and with no prior notice.
Access for other reasons, such as routine inspections, the required prior notice that needs to be issued to a tenant ranges between 24 hours and 14 days.