Special Terms in a Tenancy Agreement – information for Lessors about your rental property

In Queensland, lessors or agents can include special terms in general tenancy agreements in addition to the required standard terms, but any special terms must follow the rules set out in the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008.

Special terms may cover issues such as pets, carpet cleaning, pest control, water charging, or pool maintenance and how they apply to the tenancy. They must not contradict a standard term or be unreasonable.

For example, a special term cannot state that a tenant is responsible for repairs under $50, or that the tenant agrees to pay 6 weeks bond where rent is less than $700 per week.

A special term in a tenancy agreement cannot state that the bond paid by the tenant will be held by the lessor and not lodged with the RTA.

This is called contracting outside the Act and is an offence.

Special terms cannot require tenants to purchase a particular service

For example, a special term may state that the tenant is required to clean a pool on a regular basis, but the tenant does not have to agree to pay a pool cleaning company.

Lessors/agents must give a prospective tenant a copy of the General tenancy agreement (Form 18a) including any special terms before the tenant commits to the property – that is, before they pay any money or sign the agreement.

Under Queensland tenancy laws, it is an offence for the lessor/agent to:

fail to provide a copy of the proposed agreement to a prospective tenant
fail to return a signed copy of the agreement to the tenant within 14 days of receiving a signed copy from the tenant.
The tenant must sign the agreement and return it to the lessor/agent within 5 days.

The lessor/agent must cover the cost of preparing the tenancy agreement.

Source: www.rta.qld.gov.au