Common terms

The following terms are often used in housing disputes.

Landlord is the owner of the residential premises and rents the whole or part of the premises to the tenant. (Any reference to an act to be done in SACAT by a landlord may be done by the landlord’s agent.)

Landlord’s agent is the person/organisation who manages the residential premises on behalf of the landlord, for example, a property manager or real estate agent who collects the rent or arranges the signing of the residential tenancy agreement.

Tenant is the person who has the right to occupy the residential premises under the residential tenancy agreement.
Co-tenant refers to another tenant, or tenants, on the residential tenancy agreement. They share rights and obligations with the other co-tenants.

Breach is the non-compliance with any terms or conditions of a residential tenancy agreement or other agreement which grants a right of occupancy.

Inspection sheets are sheets contained in a written report and which relate to the condition of the rental premises. They are completed by the landlord or agent and the tenant at the start (ingoing) and end (outgoing) of the tenancy.

Park operator/owner means the operator or owner of a residential park.

Proprietor means the person running a rooming house.

Resident means either a resident in a rooming house or a resident in a retirement village.

Residence agreement means the document entered into by the administering authority of a retirement village and the resident of a retirement village by which the resident is granted a right of occupancy in that village in return for paying a premium and other fees and charges.

Rent is the payment made to the landlord/proprietor by the tenant/s for occupying the residential premises.

Residential tenancy agreement is the contract under which a landlord gives the tenant/s the right to occupy the residential premises. 

Rooming house is a property in which there is accommodation available for rent to at least three persons.

Security bond is a sum of money paid by the tenant/resident to the landlord or agent before moving into the residential premises (or a guarantee may be provided to the landlord or agent on behalf of the tenant/resident). The money is used as security against financial loss arising from the tenant failing to comply with any of the terms or conditions of the residential tenancy agreement.

Site agreement means an agreement by which a park owner or operator agrees to rent a site in a residential park to a person.

Sub-tenant is a person who resides in a property with a tenant and who pays rent to the tenant. (Note: in this situation, the tenant is called the ‘head tenant’, and for the purposes of the Residential Tenancies Act the relationship between head tenant and sub-tenant is one of landlord and tenant).

Notice of breach is a notice served by the landlord/proprietor on the tenant/resident (or vice versa) notifying them of a breach of the agreement and requiring them to rectify the breach and in default of rectification, terminating the tenancy.

Notice of termination is a notice to terminate a residential tenancy agreement.