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A residential tenancy agreement is where one person gives another person the legal right to occupy their property as a place of residence, usually in return for payment of rent. This agreement can be written, verbal or implied.

Written Terms

A written residential tenancy agreement must address the following terms:

  • The amount of rent to be paid;
  • How often rent has to be paid;
  • The method for payment of the rent;
  • The bond amount;
  • Any agreement reached as to responsibilities for utility rates;
  • Responsibility for insurance of the premises and the household contents

Implied Terms

The Residential Tenancy Act 1995 (SA) (the ‘Act’) also provides terms that are included in every residential tenancy agreement, regardless of whether they are written or not. Some example of such terms are:

  • The tenant has the right to vacant possession – in other words, the tenant has exclusive possession of the parts or the entirety of the premises as agreed upon during the tenancy
  • Quiet enjoyment by the tenant of the premises without the interruption from the landlord or others
  • The landlord must take reasonable steps to secure the premises
  • The tenant must maintain and return the premises to the landlord in a “reasonably clean” condition
  • The tenant must not alter the property without written consent from the landlord

These are just some of the terms that both landlord and tenant have to adhere to, regardless of whether they are expressly written in a lease. Any terms inconsistent with the terms provided by the Act will be unenforceable.

For example, the landlord cannot require the tenant to engage professional cleaners to clean the premises at the end of the tenancy when the Act only requires the premises to be returned in a “reasonably clean” state.

If you would like to discuss your rights and responsibilities as a landlord or tenant, or have a tenancy dispute you require legal assistance with, our experienced lawyers can help. Simply contact us via email at or give us a call on 8410 9069.

Please note that this article does not constitute legal advice and Straits Lawyers will not be legally responsible for any actions you take based on this article.