‘The Key to Your Door . . .

‘The Key to Your Door . . .’

proudly funded by . . .

A Guide to Successful Tenancy . . .

Assisting refugee communities to understand ‘rental tenancy’

64 Proudly funded by the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA), Interlink Housing & Support Association Inc. and Acces Services Inc.

Introduction
This booklet has been designed to assist members of six new emerging culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities in the Logan/Gold Coast regions. It aims to help them understand the rights and responsibilities of rental tenancy. Funded by Queensland’s Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) through their Community Education Public Grants Scheme, Interlink Housing & Support Association Inc. and Acces Services Inc. , the research base for this booklet was gaining first-hand knowledge about the REAL issues CALD communities face when renting a property. This project was managed by Interlink Housing & Support Association Inc. The support and cooperation from six refugee communities within the Logan/Gold Coast regions throughout this project was very much appreciated; important information obtained through conversation, questionnaires and focus groups, all of which helped to create this booklet - a resource aimed at educating and empowering CALD Communities, with the view to positively impacting both the immediate and wider community. Disclaimer This publication is a simplified guide to Queensland’s tenancy law. It is not a comprehensive statement of law. You are encouraged to obtain assistance if you are unsure how these laws apply to your situation. The enclosed information was accurate at the time of printing and may be of use to relevant organisations working within CALD communities. However, organisations wishing to reproduce or alter this document in any way should first contact Interlink and the Residential Tenancies Authority for approval. 2

Repairs and Maintenance Form
√ If it needs repairing...

Tap

Stove

Light globe

Shower

Toilet

Lock

Hot Water

Door

Window

Ceiling Light

Roof

Switch/power point

REPORT REPAIRS: 0-6 months—Interlink: 3808 2206 OR 0419 794 391 63 6 months onwards—lessor/agent or contact numbers listed on your Lease Agreement

Continued: Important Organisations to know . . .

Table of Contents
Introduction…………………………………………………..2 Table of contents……………………………………………3 Acknowledgments…………………………………………..4 Team…………………………………………………………5

Multilink

3808 4463

Section 1

Tenancy Advice & Advocacy Service (TAAS) Logan Tenancy Advice & Advocacy Service (TAAS) Gold Coast Two service locations: Southport Palm Beach

Key Information for Finding a place to rent

38261598

When you first arrive………………………………………...7 Renting from Interlink………………………………………..8 Renting in Queensland—the Laws for renting…………….9 Renting in Queensland- Rights & Responsibilities…......10 Where to find a new property to rent…………………… .11 Applying for a new property to rent……………………….12

5591 1102 5598 3230

Section 2
Key Information for Successful Renting
Beginning a tenancy…………………………………… 15-17 Paying rent……………………………………………… 18-19 Repairs and maintenance……………………………...20-25 Looking after your home inside and out…………… ..26-34 Property inspections……………………………………35-37 Problems you could have during a tenancy………… 38-40 Mail & correspondence……………………………….. 41-42

Tenants Union Queensland (TUQ) Outside Brisbane 1800 177 761 3257 1108 Brisbane area Translating & Interpreting Services (TIS) Residential Tenancies Authority

Section 3
Other tips for renting and living in a house in Australia

131 450 1300 366 311

Safety in the house…………………………………….. 44-46 Household Bills…………..………………………………….48 Water restrictions are important ….……………………….49

Section 4
Important words to understand
At the start of the tenancy………………………………52-52 During the tenancy………………………………………53-54 If you are having problems with a tenancy……………….55 At the end of a tenancy……………………………………..56 Other important things to know…………………………….573 Important organizations to know……………………….59-62

62

Acknowledgements
We would like to thank the following organisations for their help—this booklet would not have been possible without them:

Important Organisations to know . . . How to contact them (Logan/Gold Coast)

Acces Services Inc. Department of Housing Logan Department of Housing Gold Coast

3808 9299 3884 9800

⇒ ⇒ ⇒ ⇒ ⇒ ⇒ ⇒ ⇒

-Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) Acces Services Inc. BCA’s (Bilingual Community Assistants) Multicultural Families Organisation Tenant’s Union of Queensland

5583 2200

Multicultural Development Association Youth Family Services Anglicare Refugee and Migrant Services (ARMS) Elder’s Real Estate Woodridge & others
⇒ ⇒

Gold Coast Housing Company Interlink Housing & Support Association Inc.

5528 6650

3808 2206

Multicultural Families Organisation (MFO)

5571 0381

4

61

Continued: Important Organisations to know... What they Do…… Translation and Interpreting Service (TIS)
Service to help tenants understand information in their own language

Team
The team included people from diverse cultural backgrounds who offered unique skills that enriched the creation of ‘The Key to Your Door: A Guide to Successful Tenancy.’ Team members included: - Sue Boothroyd (Project Coordinator) - Jenny Schultz (Project Manager) - Anne Siakisini (IHSS Accommodation Worker)

Department of Housing
Government housing for people on a low income

Brisbane Housing Company
Government housing for people on a low income

A special thank you to:

Interlink Housing & Support Association Inc.
Provides support, assistance and affordable housing to people on low incomes

Valentina Dimoska—Senior Community Education Officer (Rental Tenancies Authority) BCA’s (Bilingual Community Assistants) for the Burmese, Burundi, African, Somali, Afghani and Sudanese communities Sylvia Vallender—Graphics David Browning—Mentoring & technical support

⇒ ⇒

60

5

Important Organisations to know . . . What they Do . . . Residential Tenancy Authority (RTA)
The RTA makes sure that both tenant and lessors understand and follow the rules of the Residential Tenancies Act 1994, by providing information about the rules for renting and safely keeping the bonds for each tenancy

Section 1 Key Information for finding a place to rent.
⇒ ⇒ ⇒

Small Claims Tribunal (SCT)

A tribunal/court which deals with tenancy disputes and other disputes about money below a certain amount In most cases. you must first try to resolve your dispute through the RTA before applying to the Small Claims Tribunal; to have them make a decision about the dispute

When you first arrive Renting from Interlink Renting in Queensland—the Laws for renting Renting in Queensland- Rights & Responsibilities Where to find a new property to rent Applying for a new property to rent

Centrelink

Government agency who gives money to help the unemployed, sick, parents, migrants, refugees, and those with a disability

Tenant’s Union of Queensland (TUQ)

An agency that protects tenant rights

Tenant Advice and Advocacy Service (TAAS)
⇒ ⇒ ⇒

6

Service providing support and information to tenants Trained in the law for renting and can assist you with information Come with you to the Small Claims Tribunal or the RTA if you need help to discuss any problems you 59 have with your lessor

When You first Arrive
Just arrived in Australia as a refugee? *Interlink will find you a property to rent .

Important Organisations to know . . .

O—6 months- Rent through Interlink (Fixed Term Lease/6months) You will need to:
- pay rent

- pay bills (e.g. electricity) - pay rental bond - sign a lease agreement (Form 18a) - sign a Bond Lodgement (Form 2) - fill in & sign an Entry Condition Report (Form1a )

……...What they do ...p60 …...How to contact them...p62

1 month before your Fixed Term Lease expires, INTERLINK will help you decide if you want to: 1. Stay in the property you are renting OR 2. Look for another property to rent 6 months onwards— Rent directly through lessor/agent You will need to:
- pay rent - pay bills (e.g. electricity) - pay rental bond - sign a lease agreement - sign a Bond Lodgement (Form 2) - fill in & sign Entry Condition Report (General Tenancies)
Good Tips for Tenants: If you stay in the same property and sign another Tenancy Agreement (Form 18a), you DO NOT have to fill 7 in another Entry Condition Report (Form 1a)

58

Renting from Interlink

Other Important Things to Know . . .

There is a PROCESS for paying your rent.

Public Housing
Houses or units for rent by the government and rented out to low income earners at a lower rent than in the private sector.

⇒You

(tenant) will pay Interlink (from your Centrelink payments) will pay the Agent

⇒Interlink ⇒Agent

Private Sector Rental
Properties for rent that are owned by individuals who rent them out directly or pay a real estate agent to manage them

will pay the Lessor/owner

Maintenance Lodgement Form
A form you can use at Interlink and with your lessor to report repairs that need to be completed. This is not a legal RTA form, but can help you explain to your lessor/agent what is wrong. Interlink Housing & Support

Centrepay
Money you agree to be taken from your Centrelink payment to pay for household bills (example: rent, telephone, electricity)

Tenant

Family Tax Benefit A&B
Centrelink payment to help raise a child/children. Lessor Agent

Unemployed
Someone who does not have a job they are being paid money for

8

57

Continued: Important words to understand . . . ⇒ at the end of a tenancy Refund of Rental Bond (Form 4)
A form to claim back bond at the end of your tenancy

Renting in Queensland
The Laws for Renting . . .
Whether you are renting from Interlink, from other public housing or privately, there is a law in Queensland about renting. This law sets out what lessors and tenants can and can’t do when renting. Below are some of the words you will hear or see when you are renting or when you read this book . The Residential Tenancies Act 1994 This is the law that sets out the rules for renting in Queensland: Agent Someone who looks after a property for a lessor/owner

Notice to Leave (Form 12)
A tenant receives this form if they have breached their Tenancy Agreement and NOT fixed the problem in the seven days—after they received a Notice to Remedy Breach (Form 11)

Notice of Intention to Leave (Form 13)
A form to say the tenant intends to leave the property they are renting.
⇒Fixed

Term Agreement—the tenant must give 2 weeks notice, 2 weeks prior to the expiry date of the agreement ⇒Periodic Agreement—the tenant must give 2 weeks notice anytime

Real Estate Agent
Manages a property for the lessor/owner

Tenant
A person who is paying rent to legally live in a house or unit

Exit Condition Report (Form 14a)
A form which the tenant fills out at the end of the tenancy which shows the condition of the place when they leave; to record whether items in the property are clean, working, undamaged (example: stove). This form is compared with the Entry Condition Report.
Good Tips for Tenants: Protect your bond—if you damage the property or do not pay your rent, the lessor/agent will keep some or all of your Bond!

Tenancy
When you have signed a tenancy agreement and are paying rent for your home, you have a tenancy. A tenancy has a beginning and an end .

Lessor
Owner of a property that is being rented
56 9

Renting in Queensland
Rights and Responsibilities under the law
TENANT is responsible for:
⇒ ⇒ ⇒ ⇒ ⇒ ⇒ ⇒ ⇒

Continued: Important words to Understand . . . ⇒ if you are having problems with a tenancy Dispute
Disagreement or difference of opinion between at least two people

Living in a property according to the conditions agreed with the lessor in the Tenancies Agreement Paying rent on time (amount agreed on lease) Keeping the property clean INSIDE and OUTSIDE Not making too much noise in your neighbourhood Reporting any damage or need for maintenance to the lessor/agent Not using the house for anything against Australian law Making sure you or your visitors do not deliberately damage the property Paying for any damages you make LESSOR/AGENT is responsible for:

Breach
When the rules of the General Tenancy Agreement have not been followed by the tenant or the lessor/agent

Rent Arrears
Rent money is not paid on time

Dispute resolution
This is a free and confidential service provided by the RTA to tenants and lessors who want to discuss their dispute and come to an agreement. You can put in a request for dispute resolution by sending in a Form 16 to the RTA. You can choose to have a friend or support worker speak on your behalf to the RTA

Keeping the property safe and livable Fixing repairs when required Allowing you to live in the property as your home for the time stated on lease ⇒ Not entering your home without giving you correct notice in writing ⇒ Supplying keys for the property ⇒ Making sure the bond is lodged with the RTA
⇒ ⇒ ⇒ Good Tips for Tenants: The (RTA) uses a free interpreter service. If you need to call the RTA, ring the Translating and Interpreter Service(131 450 ) - ask to be connected to the RTA in 10 Queensland.

Dispute Resolution Request (Form 16)
A form to be completed when you want the RTA to assist you about a dispute
Good Tips for Tenants: Always speak with your lessor/agent if you have a problem when you are renting, or find someone who can speak on your behalf. 55

Continued: Important words to understand ….

WHERE to find a new property to rent:
⇒ ⇒

during a tenancy

Property Inspection
The lessor/agent can inspect the property every 3 months to record how the tenant is looking after the property, and to see if repairs are needed. This is a good time for the tenant to inform the lessor/agent of any repairs or concerns.

⇒ ⇒ ⇒

Real Estate Agent Newspaper Friend TO LET or TO RENT sign Internet

When Looking for a New Property To Rent

Entry Notice (Form 9)
Form given to the tenant so the lessor/agent can do: 1) a property inspection (7 days notice) or 2) maintenance repairs (24 hours notice)

Mail & Correspondence
Letters received in the mail

⇒ ⇒

Work out how much you can afford to pay on rent Ask the Real Estate Agent for their property listing Look at the property from the street See if you like the neighbourhood that the property is in

Good Tips for Tenants: Keep your property clean always, and not just when you have a property inspection. 54

Good Tips for Tenants: If you don’t have a car, make sure the property you are looking to rent is near public transport

11

APPLYING for a new property to rent:

Continued: Important words to Understand…... during a tenancy Rent
Money paid regularly to live in a property that the tenant does not own

Part Payment of Rental Bond (Form 7)
Fill in an ‘application form’ with your:
⇒ ⇒ ⇒ ⇒ ⇒ ⇒ ⇒ ⇒ ⇒ ⇒

A form to say how much extra bond a tenant pays if the rent increases

Name Current address Previous rental address Contact details How many people will be renting property (names/ ages) Employment/income details 100 credit points of identification ( e.g. Medicare card) Centrelink card, passport, electricity bill with your name on it) Pet’s names and how old Reference—for example: a letter from a previous lessor/agent saying if you followed the rules of your Tenancy Agreement (e.g. if you paid your rent on time)

Maintenance
Looking after something regularly (example: mowing the lawns or vacuuming the carpets regularly)

Repairs
Fixing something that is broken

Notice of Lessor’s Intention to Sell Premises (Form 10)
A form to let the tenant know the lessor/agent intends to sell the property they are renting

Good Tips for Tenants: Ask someone to help you fill in an application form if you are having problems or need help 12

Good Tips for Tenants: If you don’t understand something about renting, ask your lessor/agent—they are there to help you. 53

Continued: Important words to understand ……….

at the start of a tenancy

Bond Loan
Money borrowed from Department of Housing to pay for Rental Bond. This money MUST be paid back

Bond Lodgement (Form 2)
Form signed by you and the lessor that is sent to the RTA by the lessor with your bond money. This form is held by the RTA with the tenant’s rental bond money until the end of the tenancy—the tenant or lessor can then apply to have the bond paid back to them

Entry Condition Report (Form 1a)
A form the tenant completes at the beginning of the tenancy to record whether items in the property are clean, working, undamaged (example: stove). This form is compared with the Exit Condition Report of the previous tenant and compared with your Exit Condition Report at the end of your tenancy.

Section 2 Key Information for Successful Renting
⇒ ⇒ ⇒ ⇒ ⇒

Renting a home: a tenant’s guide to the rules for
renting in Queensland (Information Statement Form 17a) Tenant information about the law and the rules for renting in Queensland. You should be given a copy of this Form by the lessor/agent when you start your tenancy

Beginning a tenancy Paying Rent Repairs and maintenance Property Inspections Problems you could have during your tenancy Mail and Correspondence

Good Tips for Tenants: Vacuuming carpets regularly reduces dust.

52

13

1: Beginning a tenancy …………………...15 Tenancy Agreement Entry Condition report 2.Paying Rent ….………...18 Methods of payment Important Tips

Important words to Understand . . .

at the start of a tenancy

General Tenancy Agreement (Form 18a)
A legal agreement between the tenant and lessor/agent. When you sign the tenancy agreement, you are agreeing to live in the property according to the rules in the Agreement .

3.Repairs .& Maintenance …………..….....20 Repairs ... Reporting Repairs & Maintenance How to ask for Help Repairs & Maintenance Forms Common Repairs Emergency Repairs Maintenance ……. Looking after your property inand out 4.: Property Inspections……….………….....35 Preparation……………… Property Inspections……….. Who TO let In... Who NOT TO let in…

Fixed Term Agreement
A set time a tenant rents a property (example: 6 or 12 months)

Periodic Agreement
A tenant rents a property for NO SET TIME. There is a start date but NO END DATE. A periodic agreement starts when a fixed term agreement expires and the tenant does NOT sign a new fixed term agreement

side

Rental Bond
Money paid at the beginning of tenancy, and sent to the RTA by the lessor. This is NOT rent. At the end of the tenancy you can apply to have the RTA return your bond to you. The lessor/agent may also apply to keep some or all of the rental bond for damages to the property, or if you are in rent arrears when you leave the property.

5. Mail & Correspondence……………..40 - What to do with correspondence? 14 - Who to speak with

Good Tips for Tenants: The Residential Tenancies Act 1994 protects your rights and the lessor’s rights

51

.

Beginning a tenancy
To begin renting your home you will need to: in & sign a General Tenancy Agreement (Form18a)
⇒Fill ⇒Fill

in & sign Bond Lodgement (Form 2) keys

⇒Collect

Section 4 Important words to understand…

⇒organise to have telephone/electricity or gas to be connected ⇒organize

removals

⇒inspect the property you are going to rent - then fill in & sign an Entry Condition Report (Form 1a ) and return one copy to the lessor/agent within 3 business days

at the beginning of your Tenancy during your tenancy if you are having problems with your tenancy at the end of your tenancy

Good tips for Tenants: If you don’t understand something about renting, ask your Lessor/agent—they are there to help you. 50

Good Tips for Tenants: ALWAYS ask for help if you don’t understand!

15

Beginning a tenancy
Residential Tenancies Agreement (Form 18a)
This is a legal agreement between the tenant and lessor/ agent. When you sign the Form18a, you are agreeing to live in the property according to the rules in the Agreement. Make sure you understand what you are agreeing to. For example: Do you know when your rent is due? Do you know when your tenancy ends? Do you know if it’s your responsibility to mow the lawn and look after the garDo you know if you are allowed pets? den?

WATER RESTRICTIONS ARE IMPORTANT . . .

USE WATER WISELY . . .
CAN I?

Water or hose my garden, lawn, car, house etc

For information CALL . . .

Logan City Council— 3412 3412 Brisbane City Council— 3403 8888 Gold Coast City Council— 5582 8211

Entry Condition Report (Form 1a)
This is a form the tenant completes at the beginning of the tenancy to record whether items in the property are clean, working, undamaged (example: stove) If you don't understand the items on the form, ask a friend or support worker to help you fill it out
Good Tips for Tenants: Take photos of any damage to the property before you move in—this form and photos can be important evidence if you and the lessor disagree about getting 16 your bond back at the end of your tenancy

IF YOU BREACH THE WATER RESTRICTIONS YOU CAN BE FINED A SUM OF MONEY

Good Tips for Tenants: DO NOT leave the tap running when you are not using it

49

Household Bills Connections…
Logan & Gold Coast Areas Telstra Origin
Ph: 132200 Ph: 131253 Emergency (no electricity)

Beginning a tenancy

Important tips to remember . . .
Ph: 131253

Natural Gas/ example AGL Bottle Gas/ORIGIN Electricity
(Maintenance fee = one off fee)

Ph: 1300 309 132

1)

NEVER SIGN A BLANK FORM

Ph: 1300 308 624 Ph: 1300 308 624 2) NEVER SIGN ANYTHING UNLESS YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU ARE SIGNING

0-6 months— Interlink will pay for your
electricity/gas connection or security deposit fee 6 months onwards— you will need to pay for your telephone, electricity/gas connection or security deposit fee

3)

KEEP A COPY OF EVERYTHING YOU SIGN IN A SAFE PLACE

Good Tips for Tenants: Remember to pay bills on time. If you don’t, your electricity/gas or telephone may be CUT OFF.

48

17

Paying Rent . . .

For more information about safety, you could call:

Methods of payment:
⇒ ⇒

Brisbane Council— 3403 8888 Gold Coast City Council— 5582 8211 Origin— 131253 Department of Emergency Services— 3247 8100

Rent Card (from the lessor/agent)

Centrepay (from Centrelink payments) Direct Debit (from bank) Money Order (from post office)
Deposit Book (from Agent ) Cash (if lessor/agent accepts cash, try and have correct amount)

Good Tips for Tenants: Keep ALL receipts & papers in a safe place 18

Good Tips for Tenants: It is important to keep your home and your family safe. 47

Continued: Safety in the House . . .

Continued: Paying Rent Important Tips . . .
⇒ALWAYS

Locks
home

(X= NO) (√ = YES)

⇒ Lock doors and windows when you are not at

√ √

⇒ Keep security doors locked when you are at home

speak with the lessor/agent FIRST if you want to change the way you pay your rent (example: you pay cash for your rent and you want to start paying your rent through direct debit from your bank account)

⇒If

Hot Water

you can’t pay your rent, ALWAYS speak with your lessor/agent

⇒ DO NOT put hands or body under hot water (It can BURN)

X

your circumstances change (example: if you get a job or change jobs, ALWAYS tell Centrelink, because this may affect your Centrelink payment

⇒If

⇒ A leaking hot water tap needs repairing

Emergencies ONLY! Dial 000

Good Tips for Tenants: Remember to turn all electrical items off before going 46 out or to bed

Good Tips for Tenants: If you are having trouble paying your rent, speak with your lessor/agent to work out a payment plan 19

Repairs & Maintenance . . .
:

Continued: Safety in the House . . .
Safety Tips: (X= NO) (√ = YES)

Maintenance (taking care of the property)
The lessor/agent is responsible for : ⇒ making sure the premises are fit to live in when the tenant moves in ⇒ making sure everything is working and livable on the property during the tenancy

DO NOT use electrical appliances near water (example: hair dryer) DO NOT put metal utensils into toaster DO NOT leave burning candles unattended DO NOT put blankets or clothes NEAR or ON heater DO NOT sit close to the heater DO NOT plug power cord into power point when ON Turn heater OFF when leaving room Turn heater off when NOT using Blow candles out before leaving the Room Light gas with a gas lighter

X X X X X X √ √ √ √
45

The tenant is responsible for : ⇒ keeping the property clean and in the condition it was when they first moved in Repairs If there are any damages to the property the tenant should report them immediately to the lessor. There are some damages the lessor must repair and pay for. There are other damages which the tenant may have to pay for. Make sure you know who to contact in case of emergency repairs .

⇒ ⇒

Good Tips for Tenants: Report Repairs Immediately! If you try to fix things yourself you may damage them more—you will then have to pay for those damages

⇒ 20

Safety in the House . . . Electricity (X = NO)
(√ = YES)

Continued: Repairs & Maintenance . . . Examples of damages the tenant may have to pay for:

Powerpoints

NEVER turn power points ON or OFF with wet hands X Ask lessor/agent to re-place power points if cracked or have brown/yellow marks on them NEVER use electric appliances near water

⇒ ⇒ ⇒ ⇒

Carpet damage—(Iron burns, cigarette burns, children/animals weeing on carpet) Broken window (throwing ball through window Holes in walls Tearing screen doors/windows Pipes blocked because wrong objects have been put in

X
Examples of damages the lessor may have to pay for:
Any damage you or your visitors DO NOT cause to the property. For example: ⇒ leaking roof ⇒ broken pipes ⇒ Stove, hot water system, electricity doesn’t work properly

Stove

DO NOT use plastic containers on hot stove

X

USE metal containers on hot stove

NEVER put your hand on top of, or inside hot stove

X √
Good Tips for Tenants: DO NOT put nails or hooks in walls without getting permission from the lessor/agent FIRST

When you are NOT cooking, turn stove knobs OFF

Good Tips for Tenants: Leaking taps WASTE WATER! You may have to pay for extra water if you use too much 44

21

Continued: Repairs & Maintenance . .. How to ask for help?
Find a person who can speak English and ask them to help you fill in a maintenance form and take it to: - Interlink (0-6months) - Community Leader (always) - Lessor/agent (after 6 months) - BCA (always)

Remember . . . If you don’t understand something; ask for HELP . . . Where? * Interlink (0—6 months) * lessor/agent ( after 6 months) * Community leader (always) * BCA (always) * Acces Services Inc. (always) * Multicultural Families Organisation (MFO) (always) *Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) (always) *Tenant Advice and Advocacy Service (always)
Good Tips for Tenants: The Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) uses a free interpreter service. If you need to call the RTA, ring the Translating and Interpreter Service (131 450 ) and ask to be connected to the RTA in Queensland 22

Section 3 Other Tips for renting and living in a house in Australia ...

Safety in the house Household bills Water restrictions

Please note: The information in this section is NOT tenancy law but is provided to help tenants understand some important points about living in a house in Australia.

43

Continued: Mail & Correspondence
⇒Small

Continued: Repairs and maintenance . . . Reporting repairs & maintenance

Claims Tribunal (SCT) of Housing

1.When renting from Interlink (0—6 months in
Australia) When renting from Interlink there is a PROCESS for repairs and maintenance. Step 1: Tenant reports repairs & maintenance to Interlink Step 2: Interlink reports repairs & maintenance to the Agent (Interlink is ONLY responsible for fixing tenant damage) tidy Step 3: Agent reports repairs & maintenance to the lessor (Agents are responsible for fixing everything else) 2. When renting privately from a Lessor/Agent (6 months onwards) When renting privately there is a PROCESS for repairs and maintenance. Step 1: Tenant reports repairs & maintenance to Agent

⇒Department ⇒Centrelink

You could receive letters from Interlink ...
About:
⇒Your lease ⇒Your rent ⇒Disrupting the neighbourhood ⇒Keeping your home clean and

Important!
If you receive a letter from the Small Claims Tribunal:
1) 2) Attend the court hearing date (you can give your point of view) Take someone with you who can speak and understand English

Step 2: Agent reports repairs & maintenance to the lessor Step 3: Lessor approves repair and Agent arranges to have things fixed
Good Tips for Tenants: Your agent or lessor may have a special form to fill out for reporting maintenance .You can also use the form 23 on page 63 if you find it helpful

42

Continued: Repairs & Maintenance . . . Common Repairs
⇒Leaking/dripping

Mail & Correspondence
IMPORTANT!

tap

mail, speak with someone who can help you within the next day (24 hours)

⇒Try and read your mail ⇒If you can’t read your

No light? Light globe may need changing

Who to speak with?...
⇒ ⇒ ⇒ ⇒ ⇒ ⇒ ⇒

Shower rose falls down

Interlink Housing & Support (0-6 months) Lessor/agent (after 6 months) Community Leader (always) BCA (always) Case Worker (always) MFO (always) Acces Services Inc.

Tenant mail you could receive . . .

screen door/fly screen torn
⇒ ⇒

Entry Notice (Form 9) Notice to Remedy Breach (Form 11) Notice to Leave (Form 12) Notice of Lessor’s Intention to Sell (Form 10)

Check smoke alarm every 6 months

⇒ ⇒

Change battery every 6—12 months if necessary

⇒ Letter from owner/agent saying your lease is about to expire

Good Tips for Tenants: If you decide to change a light bulb yourself ALWAYS 24 turn the electricity off first

Good Tips for Tenants: Check your mail box every day! There may be important information, and you may have to take action straight away. 41

Problems you could have during a tenancy—what you can do . . .
If you receive a Notice to Leave (Form 12) or Notice to Remedy Beach (Form 11) and you disagree with the lessor about the problem, you can contact the RTA and apply for Dispute Resolution

Continued: Repairs & Maintenance . . Emergency Repairs
Gas or electricity Broken Element

Blocked toilet/ toilet doesn’t flush

The RTA can help you with a dispute. You can speak with the RTA or you can have someone speak on your behalf You can sign a form giving permission for another person to speak on your behalf. The RTA is bound by the PRIVACY ACT. Anything you say will be CONFIDENTIAL
No Hot Water FIRST . . . 1) go to meter box 2) If switch to hot water is OFF, click to ON. If switch stays ON: Wait for water to heat. If water doesn’t heat; report to lessor/agent. 3) If switch to hot water is OFF, and when clicked to ON does not stay on; report to lessor/agent .

Broken Window

Good Tips for Tenants: If you need help to resolve your dispute or to speak with your lessor, you can also call tenant advice and advocacy services listed in the back of this book. 40

Good Tips for Tenants: People to contact for emergency repairs should be listed on your Lease Agreement.

25

Looking After your home inside and out . .
It is the tenant’s responsibility to keep the house clean and in a reasonable condition . Everybody has different ideas about what clean means, but the next few pages will give you an idea of some of the things in your home and ways you can clean them. Remember that allowing stains to set into a carpet or mould to set into the bathroom may result in you losing some of your bond. Where can you buy cleaning products? ⇒ From the supermarket What products should you use to clean? ⇒ ONLY recommended products—see instruction label on product, or ask for help Environmentally friendly products …….. Vinegar— mixed with water can help to remove mould Dampened small paintbrush— can be used to clean window tracks Bicarbonate of soda—sprinkled onto a damp cloth, it can be used in place of a cream cleanser Bicarbonate of soda—sprinkle on carpet before vacuuming to remove smells

Continued: Problems you could have during a tenancy . . .what you can do
Notice to Remedy Breach (Form 11)
This form can be used by tenants and lessors

it can be given to the tenant when they have not followed the rules of the General Tenancy Agreement (example: not paid their rent on time or if they have disturbed the peace of the Neighborhood. the tenant has 7 days to fix the problem it can also be given to the lessor/agent by the tenant if they have not followed the rules of the General Tenancy Agreement (example: you have reported your broken shower nozzle to the lessor many times and the problem has not been fixed). the lessor/agent has 7 days to repair the problem if you issue the lessor with a Notice to Remedy Breach (Form 11)

⇒ ⇒

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Good Tips for Tenants: It is a good idea to speak with your lessor/agent FIRST to try and work out any problems before you give them a Notice to Remedy Breach (Form 11)

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Problems you could have during a tenancy . . .
There may be problems during your tenancy if for example:
You . . .
⇒ ⇒

Looking After your home inside and out . …...Lounge & Dining Room . . .

are late in paying your rent have not mowed the lawn and the grass is very high

The Lessor . . .
comes into your home without giving you written notice doesn't fix something after you have asked them to do so repeatedly
⇒ ⇒

If these sort of things happen . . . You or the Lessor can:
talk to each other and try to come to an understanding give the other person a Notice to Remedy Breach (Form 11) ⇒ put a Dispute Resolution (Form 16) into the RTA and see if they can help you and the lessor sort out your problem
⇒ ⇒

Cleaning and maintenance tips . . .
⇒ ⇒

⇒ ⇒ ⇒ ⇒

Good Tips for Tenants: If you receive a Notice to Leave or Remedy Beach speak ,with your lessor/agent—you could speak with the RTA or TAAS to check that you have been given the right amount of notice 38

Put things away when you have used them Clean windows and sliding doors with glass cleaner (for an extra shine—wipe over windows with crumpled newspaper) Wipe up spills on the carpet as soon as Vacuum Cleaner they happen—it might prevent stains Try to vacuum carpet at least once a week Clean walls with cream cleanser or recommended liquid (example sugar soap) Clean window tracks and sliding door tracks with a dry old toothbrush and then wipe over with wet paintbrush.
Good Tips for Tenants: 27 Vacuuming carpets regularly reduces dust and possibly stains

Looking After your home inside and out . .Bedroom...

continued: Property Inspections PREPARING FOR A PROPERTY INSPECTION Clean the property (your home) INSIDE...

Ceiling Fan

Bed

⇒Kitchen (example: Stove top and oven) ⇒All Floors ⇒All Carpet ⇒All Walls ⇒All Cupboards ⇒Bathroom/Shower ⇒Bath Tub ⇒Bedrooms ⇒Pick up & put away clothes in cupboards

Clean the property (your home) OUTSIDE...
Desk and Lamp
⇒Wheelie bin (always wrap scraps before placing in bin) ⇒Mow Lawns ⇒Weed Gardens ⇒Clean Windows

YES
Chair

Good Tips for Tenants: Wash and change bed sheets and pillow cases every week 28 ⇒

NO
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Who to let in; Who NOT TO LET IN for a property inspection? Do Let In...
⇒someone ⇒someone

Looking After your property inside and out . .Kitchen..

you know OR

who shows you proper identification (example: is wearing a badge or shows you a business card)

Do Not Let In...
⇒Someone ⇒Someone

who cannot identify themselves

who has not given you an Entry Notice (you can let someone in without an Entry Notice ONLY if you agree)

Always CHECK...
1. Who is written on Entry Notice (Form 9) to do property inspection? 2. Where the person is from?

Cleaning and maintenance tips . . .
⇒ ⇒ ⇒ ⇒ ⇒

Try to keep your kitchen clean and tidy everyday Wash and put things away when you have used them Wash walls from the bottom to the top Sweep and mop the floor regularly so stains don't set in Mop tile floors with a product recommended for cleaning tiles (DO NOT use a product on tiles that is recommended for cleaning wooden floors)

Good Tips for Tenants: If you don’t know who’s at your door, you could say, ’What’s your name please? “Where do you come from?”

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Good Tips for Tenants: ALWAYS put food away so you don’t attract ANTS, COCKROACHES, MICE and RATS

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Property Inspections . . .
WHAT FORM WILL YOU RECEIVE?

Entry Notice (Form 9).

microwave stove refrigerator

WHAT WILL IT SAY?
baking tray toaster
⇒ ⇒

Date of inspection Who will be doing the inspection Where the person comes from

cooking pot

electric jug

Cleaning and maintenance tips . . .
Kitchen bench tops— all purpose cleaner, cream cleanser Stove/cook tops—cream cleanser, all purpose cleaner Stove/oven—oven cleaner, all purpose cleaner, washing up detergent mixed with water Kitchen utensils (example plates, cups, saucers, cutlery) — washing up detergent
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NOTICE TO BE GIVEN?
⇒ ⇒

Property Inspection — 7 days notice Maintenance repairs —24 hours notice

Good Tips for Tenants: You should receive an Entry Notice for a property inspection 7 days before the inspection. 35

Looking After your home inside and out . .Outside the home

Looking After your home inside and out ……...Bathroom...

Wheelie Bin…
ALWAYS wrap or put kitchen scraps in a bag BEFORE putting into Wheelie bin.

Cleaning and maintenance Tips
Vanity—cream cleanser, all purpose cleaner Mirrors— glass cleaner Shower screens/glass—glass cleaner Mould— bleach Toilet—clean regularly with toilet brush and use cream cleanser, disinfectant, toilet cleaner Floor tiles—a product recommended for cleaning tiles (DO NOT use a product on tiles that is recommended for cleaning wooden floors) Bath— cream cleanser, all purpose cleaner
Good Tips for Tenants: Bicarbonate of soda—sprinkled onto a damp cloth can be used in place of a cream cleanser. 31

Rubbish bin

Recycle Bin

Good Tips for Tenants: Ask your lessor/agent what day you need to put your wheelie bin and re-cycle bin out to be emptied. 34

Shower—cream cleanser, bleach, all purpose cleaner

Looking after your home inside and out . . Laundry . . .

Looking after your property inside and out . .OUTSIDE the home

Flowers

Tips for outdoor Maintenance

Washing Machine and Dryer

Check with your lessor to see if you are responsible for looking after the garden and mowing the lawn If you are responsible for mowing but do not have a mower, see if you can borrow one from a friend

Cleaning and maintenance tips . . .
Clothes— washing powder/liquid and fabric softener
⇒ Use ONLY the recommended amount of washing

Lawn Mower

powder/liquid to wash your clothes

Tree

Wheelbarrow

Whippersnipper
Good Tips for Tenants: If you have a clothes dryer, clean the lint filter regularly or it could become a fire danger Good Tips for Tenants: It may be easier to hire someone to mow your lawn 33 every 4-6weeks. Your local community centre may know of someone who can help you with this

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