With more and more Queenslanders renting for longer, there is growing interest in more secure and sustainable tenancies that meet the needs of both tenants and property owners.
Data from the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) indicates the median length of tenancies for houses – which account for half of Queensland’s rented dwellings – has increased from 15 months to 17.5 months over the past five years.
It’s common practice for property managers/owners to offer six-month, fixed term tenancies, but the RTA encourages tenants and property managers/owners to discuss the proposed length of the tenancy and the type of agreement they are entering into to ensure the tenancy is tailored to meet their needs.
Tenants should consider the length of tenancy they want and their ability to commit to the proposed length before signing any agreement. A longer tenancy provides the opportunity and stability to settle into routine with school, friends and family, whereas a shorter agreement will offer the flexibility to move if circumstances change.
Keep in mind that the tenancy agreement is a legally-binding document, so there may be consequences for ending an agreement early.
For property owners, a fixed term agreement with specific start and end dates can ensure a steady stream of income and allow them to plan further ahead. In some situations, signing a periodic agreement with a definitive start date and no end date may be a more suitable idea to keep options open with regards to renting or selling their property. A periodic agreement may provide flexibility for everyone.
The RTA has a tenant checklist to help tenants navigate and initiate conversations and negotiations around terms of the proposed agreement, the type of agreement and the length of tenancy on offer.
Remember that open and honest communication is crucial between tenants, property managers and property owners. Working together and considering each others’ needs and wants will contribute to a positive relationship and pave the way for secure and sustainable tenancies.