Don’t rush to digitally sign that Tenancy Agreement! Without time to read through the essential parts of that Contract you are open to risk of agreeing to terms that were omitted from the original negotiation and never made it into the Lease or possibly agreeing to clauses that you never realised were part of the deal!
As a renter’s agent and as part of my service I diligently check every single lease before my clients sign it. How many do you think have been without errors? The answer is zero!
I personally have not seen one lease that has been totally compliant, with most needing alteration or re-writing altogether.
Negotiated a fixed rent increase prior to tenancy or received permission to keep a pet on the premises? This needs to be in the lease. How about the landlord’s agreement to maintain the extensive garden and grounds and service the swimming pool? This also needs to be in the lease. Smoke alarms and evidence of compliance? This needs to be marked also, and have you thought about the Pool Compliance Certificate that ensures the safety of the pool area? This also needs to be handed over to the renter at the time you sign the lease. These are just a few of what could find you in strife down the track all because the lease was not read with the time and patience it requires.
Your agent should be handing over a copy of the by-laws at the time you sign the lease if you are moving into a strata complex, not to mention any Special Instructions or move-in procedures and limitations.
Most agents also have their own set of Special Conditions that they like to insert into leases they prepare as standard procedure for their individual offices. Many of these conditions, believe it or not, contradict clauses within the Residential Tenancies Act and should not be included nor agreed to. Although many might not warrant an argument and might not even affect you personally, they are something that should be brought to your attention and considered by the agent if necessary.
Condition Reports are also not being completed in full. Many agents are re-using photographs from previous inspections that are outdated and do not give a good representation of the current state of the property while others do not complete all the checkboxes that are required at the end of the report. All of these are causes for the condition report to be deemed not valid.
For the renter that isn’t lucky enough to have an agent representing them, these are just a few of the areas that I find most discrepancies when reading over the Residential Tenancy Agreement. My biggest tip is to allow time to read through all of the documents and if something doesn’t sound right, ask for clarification and seek further guidance by first referring to the Tenant Information Statement issued by NSW Fair Trading and reaching out to the relevant contacts on that document if required.