Renting means agreeing to live in a property owned by someone else for a regular payment.

The owner of a property, also known as a landlord (or lessor), can rent out a property privately (where you have direct contact with the owner) or through a real estate agency. You as the person renting are the tenant.

When renting, the tenant has the right to ‘exclusive possession’ of the property that they are renting. This means that he or she is given permission to stay in the house and can exclude anyone from the premises including the landlord or the agent.

You will usually need to sign a lease before you start living in a rental property. You will be asked to pay a bond of approximately 4 weeks rent plus 2 weeks rent in advance.

Before you start looking for a property you should:

  • know which suburb you want a home in and what size property you need;
  • select a property that you know you can maintain;
  • work out and set your rental budget;
  • have a think about what you need in a property such as parking, disability access, a backyard or whether you would like to have pets; and
  • know whether you are living by yourself or sharing with others.

Differences between states

Northern Territory

NT Consumer Affairs have some useful online resources with further information about renting – visit their website for more details, or call 1800 019 319.

You can contact the Tenants Advice Service, though the Darwin Community Legal Service for more information about renting and the law by phoning 1800 812 953. You can also visit the Tenants Advice Service website to access fact sheets on renting.


There are services that may be able to assist you with your bond like Housing ACT Rental Bonds Loan Scheme.

Western Australia

The WA Department of Commerce has a useful tenant’s guide for renting a home in Western Australia. A Community Legal Centre called Tenancy WA can also provide you with additional information and advice.

In addition to your normal rental bond, if you have a pet you may have to pay a pet bond.


Visit the Tenants NSW website  to access fact sheets on renting and for contact details for Tenants Advice and Advocacy Services which are available to all tenants in NSW depending on where you live.

South Australia

This SA Government website has lots of comprehensive info on housing, with some handy pages about renting.

The South Australian Tenants’ Information and Advisory Service (TIAS) is a free, independent service, helping people maintain their tenancies in private rental, community housing or public housing.


For information about renting and also about what to do when things go wrong, check out the links below:


The Tenants’ Union of Tasmania is a specialist Community Legal Centre for residential tenants. The Tenants’ Union provides free legal advice, representation and education, as well as advocating for improving tenants’ rights.

In Tasmania, Colony 47 may be able to assist you with bond and rent assistance for public and community housing as well as for private rental accommodation through their Housing Connect program.


Tenants Queensland provides a range of tenancy information and advocacy services including: A statewide telephone advice service for tenants, tenancy publications, a tenancy law training program, and tenancy law research and policy development.

The Residential Tenancies Authority is a good resource for more information about renting in Queensland.