The rent you pay your landlord or agent gives you the right to live in your property. Exactly how rent works can vary from one landlord to another, so it’s important you understand your lease before you sign it.
First and foremost, you should get to know your Residential Tenancy Agreement to understands how your rent will be paid. Your RTA is a legally binding written contract that exists between you (as the tenant/resident) and your landlord. You’ll find it commonly referred to as your ‘lease’. This document should be given to you before you pay any money or commit to the tenancy – make sure you read it carefully.
How would your landlord or agent like the rent paid?
Your tenancy agreement must state the amount of rent, and when it is to be paid. The method of payment (e.g. direct debit) and the place of payment should also be included.
Here are a few common ways to pay your rent as a residential tenant in Australia:
In Australia, some agents will request that you enter into your lease with a direct debit set up for your rent payments. A direct debit is when you allow the merchant (in this case, the agent) to debit (take money from) your bank account on a regular basis to pay for goods or services (your rent). When you agree to pay by direct debit, you will sign an agreement that tells your bank to deduct money from your account to pay the rent. The money will be taken from your account until you cancel the direct debit.
Should I pay by direct debit? This will depend on your situation. By setting up direct debit, the advantage is that yo don’t have to worry about paying rent by the due date – the agent and bank organise the deduction of the amount due. A disadvantage is that you will need to watch your account balance to make sure there’s enough money to cover the amount being deducted – some banks charge a dishonour fee if you overdraw.
Another option is to pay your rent manually. A disadvantage of paying your rent manually is that it relies on you remembering to make the payment every time it’s due (might be time to set up a calendar reminder), but you stay in control and know exactly what’s going on. This can be a good option if your income fluctuates and you don’t have a consistent amount of money in your account each week/fortnight/month.
BPAY is another type of electronic payment, but in this case, you make the payments manually. You can make a BPAY payment over the phone or internet. To set up BPAY, you’ll need to contact your bank and get a password. Your agent will also need to give you a biller code and a rental account number.
Hot BPAY tip: Make sure you keep track of your BPAY payments by recording the date of payment and the reference number. A calendar can be a good way to record these payments. Remember that it can take a few days to register a BPAY payment, so be sure to leave enough time for your payment to go in by the due date.
Using RentPay, you (as the tenant) enter into an agreement with RentPay. You can pay your rent using either your bank account or your credit card. You can set-up a scheduled autopay which sets up an automatic schedule to pay your rent on time, every time. Alternatively, you can perform an ad-hoc payment from your bank account through the RentPay website. If your agent does not currently support RentPay, contact email@example.com or call 1300 797 933 and we’ll contact your agent to discuss the benefits of becoming a RentPay agent.
I want to use RentPay, but I don’t have internet access: If you do not have access to the internet, feel free to use the RentPay phone service, AutoPay, BPAY via phone or cash at Australia Post. You can register for both services when you complete the online registration process. Please note that your agent may not offer all payment methods.
Paying in person
If you live (or work) near your agent’s office and are happy to pop into the office to pay the rent each time it’s due, you could make a direct manual payment. If the agent allows you to pay cash, be sure that the person who takes your money enters your payment on your rental ledger and issues you with a receipt before you leave – otherwise, there will be no way for you to prove the payment was made.