Everyone has the right to enjoy reasonable comfort, peace and privacy in their own home. But it’s worth remembering the responsibilities that come with signing a lease agreement and what this means to you.

This photo, published in The West Australian shows rubbish littering the back yard of a Perth home. Credit: Ian Munro / The West Australian.

At the start of your tenancy, you will sign your state tenancy agreement. As a tenant, you are required to:

  • pay the rent as stated in the tenancy agreement
  • keep the property you rent clean, as it was at the start of the tenancy
  • not maliciously damage, or allow someone else to maliciously damage the property you rent
  • not use your property for illegal purposes
  • not cause a nuisance whilst in your property
  • not interfere with the reasonable peace, comfort and privacy of your neighbours.

CASE STUDY

Property owners in an outer southern suburb of Perth, Western Australia called for tougher laws to crackdown on bad tenants in early November after their home was trashed and they lost thousands of dollars in unpaid rent. The owners arrived home to discover the house completely trashed.

The Residential Tenancies Act regulates the relationship between landlords and their tenants and seeks to balance the rights and responsibilities of both parties. WA Commerce Minister Michael Mischin reiterated those rules in the article published by The West Australian: “It is a term of every residential tenancy agreement that a tenant shall keep the premises in a reasonable state of cleanliness and shall not intentionally or negligently cause or permit damage to the premises,” he said. 

If a tenant fails to meet these obligations, landlords can issue a breach notice requiring a tenant to remedy the breach. If a tenant fails to do so within 14 days, a landlord can give a notice terminating the tenancy agreement, allowing the tenant at least seven days to vacate. If a tenant fails to vacate, the landlord must get a court order.

A photo from inside the trashed property
A photo from inside the trashed property. Credit: Ian Munro / The West Australian

What is disruptive behaviour?

Disruptive behaviour generally falls into three categories:

  • Minor (general or nuisance) behaviours
    • These are activities which could happen occasionally in a household that could disturb the peace, comfort or privacy of other tenants or neighbours.
      • For example: Excessive noise from your television, stereos or a loud party.
  • Serious behaviours
    • These are activities which intentionally or recklessly disturb your neighbours, or could reasonably cause concern for the safety or security of a tenant, household member, neighbour or their property.
      • For example: Harassing neighbours, using aggressive or obscene language, or damaging public housing property.
  • Dangerous or severe behaviours
    • These are activities that pose a risk to the safety or security of residents or property and may result in police charges, and/or conviction, or significant damage to public housing property.
      • For example: Illegal or alleged illegal activity at the property (i.e. production of drugs), supply or trafficking, domestic and family violence, or physical assault and acts of violence against other tenants, neighbours, or extensive damage to departmental property.

It’s important to note that: A warning can be issued for any confirmed incident of these types of behaviours. A warning is issued only when there’s a confirmed incident of disruptive behaviour. It indicates that your tenancy is at risk, should your disruptive behaviour continue.

You can read more about the legislation specific to your state or territory on Rent.com.au/blog.

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