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Starting a tenancy 

A guide for tenants

At the start of every tenancy, the landlord or agent must give you a copy of a Fair Trading publication called the New tenant checklist. This fact sheet contains important information to be aware of before signing a new tenancy agreement. Read the checklist carefully and ask your landlord or agent about anything you do not understand.

You should also be given:

  • a copy of your tenancy agreement 
  • two copies of the premises condition report, which you should fill in, returning one of the copies to your landlord or agent within 7 days. Take the time to fill out the condition report with as much detail and accuracy as possible. The condition report will be a key piece of evidence at the end of the tenancy if there is a dispute about who should pay for cleaning, damage or replacing missing items. For more information, go to the Filling out a condition report page.

To view or download the standard Residential Tenancy Agreement and Condition Report, go to the Forms page.

You must also be given a copy of a valid certificate of compliance or occupation certificate (issued within the last 3 years) when you enter a new tenancy for a property with a swimming or spa pool. This requirement does not apply to properties in strata or community schemes with more than two lots as they are already subject to Council pool inspections every 3 years. 

You should not be asked to pay for the cost of preparing your tenancy agreement, or for the initial supply of keys and security devices to each tenant named on the agreement. You should not be required to pay more than 2 weeks rent in advance, or more than 4 weeks rent as a rental bond.

Paying your bond

For new tenancies from 30 January 2017, your agent or self-managing landlord must offer you the option of using Rental Bonds Online, Fair Trading’s secure online service to manage and refund bond money easily and directly with Fair Trading.

Your agent or landlord should give you the Getting started with Rental Bonds Online – information for tenants fact sheet (PDF size: 345Kb). This outlines what you need to use the service and how you can register and pay your bond. To use Rental Bonds Online, all you need is an email account, a mobile phone, internet connection, a Visa, Mastercard or the ability to pay by BPAY, and an Australian bank account. 

Watch our video, Rental Bonds Online: the smart way to manage your bond, to learn more on the convenience that Rental Bonds Online offers.
(Internet Explorer users please right click on the video and select ‘Open link’ to watch.)

You can also find answers to common questions about the service by visiting our Frequently asked questions for tenants page.

If you cannot find what you are looking for or need further assistance please contact Rental Bonds Online Security and Support.

Email: rbosupport@finance.nsw.gov.au
Free call: 1800 990 724

If you do not have internet access, you can continue to give your bond directly to the landlord or landlord's real estate agent. The landlord or agent must lodge your bond with Fair Trading.

For more information about what the landlord or agent must do with your bond, visit the Taking a bond page.

The information on the following pages may also be useful to you when starting a tenancy.

Tenancy databases
Discrimination when renting

Fact sheet quick access

All the information in this section, Starting a tenancy, has been compiled into one ready-to-print PDF document. To print or download information on any or all of the two topics in this section, go to Starting a tenancy - information for tenants (in PDF format size: 536kb).

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All the pages in this section listed above can also be individually viewed or printed as fact sheets by clicking on the PDF icon located on each page.

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