Landlords can’t just add any conditions to the tenancy agreement. All conditions added to a tenancy agreement must comply with the law.
What sort of conditions the landlord can add
Generally, a landlord can add extra conditions to the tenancy agreement if they relate to things that may damage the house or cause extra wear and tear. These might be things such as:
- prohibiting the tenant from smoking in the house
- limiting the number of people allowed to live in the house
- indicating certain areas on the property where cars are not allowed to be parked
- stating whether the tenant can have pets
- methamphetamine testing
What sort of conditions the landlord can't add
There are some conditions the landlord can't add as they might breach the law.
Breaches of the Act explains more about clauses in a tenancy agreement that may be unenforceable.
If the condition does not comply with the law
If something’s been written down as an extra condition in a tenancy agreement, but it’s inconsistent with what the law says, it has no effect. A landlord can’t enforce what’s outside the law, and tenants can’t give away any of their rights.
For example, even if the tenancy agreement says the tenant must leave on a month’s notice, the tenant is still entitled to 90 or 42 days’ notice (whichever applies under the Act).
Giving notice to end a tenancy explains how much notice is required for different types of tenancies.
A landlord can waive their rights, and they can agree to take on more responsibilities than the law imposes on them.
Rules about pets
Allowing the tenant to have pets
Some landlords strictly refuse to allow tenants to keep any type of pet on the property during a tenancy. However, sometimes the best potential tenant may ask about keeping a pet. Both parties need to agree on the conditions for keeping a pet on the property. It’s best practice to write these conditions into the tenancy agreement.
Landlords with unit title or cross lease properties should check the conditions of their body corporate rules or leases to see what restrictions there may be on keeping animals.
The potential tenant looks good, but they have a pet
Landlords should consider a number of factors when deciding which tenant to rent to (for example, credit rating and references). Whether or not they have a pet is only one of those factors, and may not be a significant one.
Many good tenants have pets. By denying a tenancy to a tenant just because they have a pet, the landlord may be denying themselves a good tenant. It could be helpful if the tenant can provide references from previous landlords about how well the pet was managed in the other tenancies.
If the landlord lets the tenant have a pet, they should make it clear in the tenancy agreement exactly what conditions apply. See the examples below.
Allowing pets as part of the tenancy agreement
If pets are allowed you should make sure the tenancy agreement clearly sets out the number and type of pets, or the specific pets, that have been agreed on. Some agreements also state what needs to happen if a replacement pet is wanted.
The tenant is responsible if their pet damages anything
A tenant is responsible for any damage they cause either intentionally or carelessly. This includes any damage done by their pets.
Repairs and damages has more about the tenant’s obligations if their pet causes damage.
Landlord wanting to charge an extra bond if the tenant has a pet
Charging a bond has more information on how much bond a landlord can charge.