Everyone who pays for accommodation has rights. The extent of these rights, however, depends on your particular agreement.
In the ACT, there are two kinds of renting agreements: tenancies and occupancies. If you have a written residential tenancy agreement (RTA), then you are a tenant and can enjoy the associated rights, including:
- Privacy at home
- To have repairs taken care of quickly
- To receive eight weeks notice of rent increases
- To receive receipts for all payments made to your landlord
But what if you don’t have an RTA? For occupants, things can be a bit less clear. That’s where occupancy agreements come in.
What is an occupancy agreement?
An occupancy agreement is a contract between the grantor (the person giving permission to occupy) and the occupier that gives both some level of legal protection. It’s important to note that a lease holder cannot grant the right to occupy to another party without the consent of the lessor – or landlord – first.
Occupancy agreements should outline expectations for things like:
- House rules
- Rent and fees
- Notice to leave
- Access to the premises
Why are occupancy agreements important?
Occupancy agreements are binding contracts. If, for example, you’re the occupant and relations with your roommate (the grantor) become tense, they can’t force you to leave if the term in your occupancy agreement hasn’t been reached.
To that end, it’s important to make sure your occupancy agreements are clear and formal. Technically, occupancy agreements can be recorded verbally, but it’s always best to write them down and to be as detailed as possible to avoid misunderstandings down the line.
Further, always include a date that the agreement will end. That way, you’ll have a set time when you can decide whether or not to change any terms, including rent and fees.