Rental agreements: Standard versus special terms

When it comes to renting a property, the rental agreement is the key document which sets out the terms and conditions of what’s expected of the renter and what’s expected of both the property manager and owner.

Governed by relevant state or territory law, this document forms the foundations of a professional renting arrangement, including information on who will reside at the property, for how long, and what they are expected to pay in rent, when.

Most of this information is what’s known as standard terms, but within a rental agreement there can be special terms as well, which are unique to that agreement and that property.

So, let’s look at the difference between standard and special terms in a rental agreement, and what they mean for the parties involved.

Standard information and terms

Under each state and territory law, every rental agreement has standard information and terms.

These include things like the following:

  • The address of the property
  • The names of the people who are party to that agreement – i.e., the rental occupier/s, owner and property manager.
  • The length of the agreement term – when it starts and when it finishes and whether it’s a six-month rental agreement, 12-month arrangement or another agreed upon term.
  • The rent that is to be charged for that property, when it falls due and how it is to be paid (e.g. direct deposit)
  • Any inclusions in the property – such as furniture or goods left at the property
  • The number of people allowed to reside at the premises
  • The type of number of pets allowed at the premises
  • Who is responsible for the payment of services such as electricity, gas, water and the telephone

There are also standard terms that relate to how the property is used by the rental occupier, how often rental inspections can be conducted under the law, and both the renter’s and rental owner’s obligations.

Each of these standard terms is governed by law and once the agreement is signed the relevant party is required under the law to adhere to those conditions.

Special conditions

Special terms are unique to that property and these need to be agreed to prior to entering into a rental agreement.

They might relate to things like the owner being responsible for pool maintenance, but the renter paying for chemicals, or the rental occupier being responsible for flea fumigation when they vacate the property.

They might also relate to garden maintenance, and the fact the owner will be responsible for ongoing lawnmowing, but otherwise the rental occupier is required to keep the garden neat, tidy and weed-free.

A special condition could also apply to things like pets and the fact a dog is permitted outside the house, but not inside.

In some instances, special conditions might apply to areas which the rental occupier is not allowed to access, such as an outside storage shed where the owner stores some possessions.

As mentioned, each of these special conditions must be agreed upon prior to signing the rental agreement.

Most importantly, these conditions cannot contradict or void any of the standard terms already provided in the agreement.

A word to the wise on special conditions

While special conditions aren’t uncommon in rental agreements, property managers cannot automatically insert all terms put forward by the rental owner.

They must ensure any special conditions proposed do not contradict the existing law, are enforceable, reasonable, and legally compliant.

How we can assist

Our experienced property managers pride themselves on establishing great relationships with both rental occupiers and owners.

We manage every property as if it were our own and you can learn more about our property management services here.

Alternatively, if you are looking to rent a property, you can view the properties we currently have available here.