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Communtity Law Manual | Tenancy & housing | Other fees and costs

Rent, bond and other costs

Other fees and costs

No other fees allowed at the start of the tenancy

Can the landlord get me to pay a letting fee or other fee on top of rent and bond?

Residential Tenancies Act 1986, s 17A

No. The landlord can’t require you to pay any of the following kinds of fees:

  • Letting fees – this is a fee charged by a real estate agent or property manager for arranging the tenancy, usually one week’s rent. The landlord has to pay this fee, and can’t pass it on to you the tenant.
  • Lawyer’s fees – for example, for the costs of drawing up the tenancy agreement
  • “Key money” – this means a payment to the landlord simply because they’re agreeing to rent the place to you.

Until December 2018, a landlord was allowed to charge you a letting fee or a lawyer’s fee, but not “key money”.

When you first look at a place, you can agree with the landlord that you’ll pay them one week’s rent for an option to rent it – sometimes called an “option fee”. But if you do then decide to rent the place, the landlord has to refund you that money or put it towards the rent – they can’t keep it as a payment on top of the rent.

Ongoing costs that tenants are responsible for

You’re responsible for power, phone, and so on

Residential Tenancies Act 1986, ss 39(4), 40(1)(a)

You, the tenant, are responsible for paying the charges for the electricity, gas, phone and internet that you actually use. You’re also responsible for paying water charges if the water supplier charges by how much is used.

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