Frequently asked questions

Listings back to top

Does Macquarie Accommodation Service check the property, the landlord and any people living at the property?

Generally no. The Macquarie Preferred Accommodation database is an information service only and whilst every effort is made to assist students to find suitable accommodation, any lease or other housing arrangement entered into are at the discretion of the student and the accommodation provider. It is vital that you inspect any property you are considering renting before you move in or sign any agreements. If you find once inspecting the property that it is not like how it was described or if it is not like the pictures then Macquarie Accommodation Service strongly recommends you contact us. We will use this information to be able to remove any advertisement which is seen to be misleading or a potential scam.

Can I advertise Homestay accommodation on this website?

Yes, however your advertisement may be better suited to being advertised through a recognised Homestay provider who will assist you by finding students for you. This is the preferred method of advertising Homestay accommodation and this may result in finding an occupant much quicker than through the Private Listings website. Please follow this link to get in contact with the Homestay providers.

I can't sign in, or I can't remember my password.

Please use the password assistance page to reset your password.

If you don't receive the email containing reset instructions, please contact us and we'll reset your password manually for you.

How long does it take for my listing to go live?

All advertisements require review by Macquarie Accommodation Service prior to being published. Generally the listing will be reviewed the following business day between 9am - 5pm Monday - Thursday and 9am - 3pm Friday. The Accommodation Office is closed Saturday and Sunday.

I can't edit the additional details on my listing.

We need to proofread the additional details you update to ensure that the information is correct and appropriate.
 

How long will my advertisement remain live on this service?

Each advertisement will be live on the service for 1 month. You will receive an email prior to the advertisements' due expiry date so that if the premises have not been leased that you have an opporunity to renew the advertisement.

If you lease the room or property prior to the expiry of advertisement please ensure to log back into the service to remove the listing. Finding a property can be a difficult and time consuming process especially when a majority of the time is spent ringing just to see if the property is still available.

What can I do when my property is no longer vacant?

When your property has been filled we require you to close the listing. This will ensure your property is inactive so students cannot view the listing and you will no longer receive phone calls. Your property details will be kept in an archive on the system for up to 2 years. So in 2 months time or 12 months time if your property becomes vacant you can log back into the website and relist the property. You can make changes before submitting again or leave as is.

Tenancy Agreement back to top

What is a Tenancy Agreement?

A tenancy agreement is a written legal document between a tenant and the property owner (landlord) which explains the terms and conditions of your living arrangement. Example of a Standard form Tenancy Agreement in fillable PDF format (size: 114kb) from NSW Fair Trading.
 

Do I need a Tenancy Agreement?

Yes, the tenant and landlord are both required to sign a tenancy agreement before the tenant moves into the property. More information on what you must know before you sign a lease.

What kind of Tenancy Agreements are there?

There are 2 types of tenancy agreements - a ‘Fixed Term Agreement’ and a ‘Periodic (continuing) Agreement’.

If an agreement is for a specific period of time (eg., 6 months), then this is a fixed agreement. This type of agreement must include the end date, and may be used at either the start of a new tenancy, or when renewing an existing agreement once the initial fixed term period has finished.

If a fixed agreement has finished, and a new agreement has not been signed, the tenant will automatically move to a periodic agreement. You can also have a periodic agreement from the beginning of a tenancy but this is uncommon. In a periodic agreement, you and the tenant must follow the rules set out in the original agreement (or in the prescribed standard agreement if there wasn't a signed agreement).

The rights and obligations under both types of agreements are generally the same. However, there are differences in relation to terminating the tenancy and rent increases. If you fail to have a written agreement in the proper form at the start of a tenancy, penalties can be imposed. In addition, you are unable to evict the tenant without a reason or put the rent up during the first 6 months.

For more information on tenancy agreements, please visit - Fair Trading.

Can the landlord charge for the preparation/copying of the tenancy agreement?

No, the landlord is not allowed to charge the tenant for printing or preparation of the tenancy agreement. Stamp duty is no longer payable on tenancy agreements. Please note – if the tenancy agreement is for more than 3 years, the tenant may be required to pay the cost of registering the tenancy agreement with the Land and Property Management Authority.

Bond back to top

What is a Bond?

A bond is a sum of money that the landlord can request the tenant to pay as a form of security in case the tenant break the terms and conditions outlined in your tenancy agreement (eg., hanging pictures on the wall when you were told not to).

How much should the Bond be?

The bond can be no more than 4 weeks rent. So, if the tenant's rent is $200 per week then the bond can be no more than $800. This applies to both furnished and unfurnished properties.
 

How can the Bond be paid?

The bond can be paid in cash, bank cheque, or bank transfer. It is against the law for a landlord to make the tenant pay the bond in the form of personal goods or services.

Although most landlords request the bond to be paid in full, it is also acceptable for the tenant to pay the bond in instalments. In this situation the landlord can keep the part instalments until the full bond amount has been received. This entire bond will then need to be lodged with  NSW Fair Trading within 10 working days (see below - 'can the landlord keep the bond?'). Please note that if these part payments exceed more than 3 months, however, the landlord will need to lodge what they've received in 3 monthly cycles.
 

When should the tenant pay the Bond?

The bond should be paid shortly after the tenant signs the tenancy agreement, not before.
 

What kind of property damage will/will not affect the Bond refund?

A tenant is not liable to pay for the deterioration of belongings/the property caused from wear and tear across time. For example, faded curtains or paint, traffic marks on the carpet, loose door hinges/ handles, cracks in the wall from movement, or water stains on the carpet caused from leaking roof or bad plumbing.

A tenant is liable for any direct damages that have been caused to the property. For example, carpet burns/stains, missing/broken items, holes in the wall, or broken glass, etc.

How does the Bond get refunded?

In order to make a claim for part or the entire bond, the landlord/tenant needs to fill out a claim form and lodge it with Fair Trading - Example of Claim Form.

If the tenant and landlord both agree on the bond amount, both should sign the form before submitting it to Fair Trading. This way, the bond will be paid without delay.

If the tenant and landlord don't agree on the bond amount, the landlord or tenant can lodge the form without the other's signature, but must send any evidence of the claim to the other party within 7 days (eg., their Condition report, and estimates, invoices, or receipts for the work). After the form has been lodged by either the tenant or landlord, a notice from Fair Trading will be sent to either party asking them to settle the matter directly, or contest the claim if they don’t agree by applying to the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal within 14 days.

If a claim is not made to the Tribunal, then the bond will be paid out as requested by the person who sent in the claim form.
If a claim is made to the Tribunal, then the bond will be held by Fair Trading until the matter is resolved. Either party will also need to attend a hearing at the Tribunal and present evidence to back up their claim.

Please note - after the bond has been paid out to either the landlord or tenant, either can still apply to the Tribunal within 6 months if you don’t agree.
 

Does a Bond need to be paid?

It is up to the landlord whether a tenant will need to pay a bond or not. In most cases, a bond will be requested (up to 4 weeks rent).
 

Can the landlord keep the Bond? If not, where does it need to be lodged?

No, this is not allowed. All bonds need to be lodged with NSW Fair Trading. A 'Rental Bond Lodgement Form' must be completed by the landlord, and signed by the tenant before paying the bond. Forms are available from any Fair Trading Centre or by calling 13 32 20 (the landlord should obtain this form for the tenant). Lodgement of the form and money must be done within 10 working days from receiving the bond.

After the bond has been processed by Fair Trading, the tenant will receive confirmation of bond lodgement, as well as a unique bond number. Please keep this confirmation letter safe.
 

Should a reciept be given after Bond payment?

Yes, a receipt, or record of payment details on the tenancy agreement, must be given by the landlord to the tenant within 3 days after bond payment has been made.
 

Can only one Bond be charged during a tenant's stay?

Yes, you can only request 1 bond payment (up to 4 weeks rent). You cannot ask the tenant for top-up bond payments.

Condition Report back to top

When do I need to give the Condition report back to the landlord?

The tenant should hand back a copy of the Condition report to the landlord within 7 days.
 

Can I (tenant) make alterations to the property without the landlord's permission?

No, you must ask permission before making any adjustments to the property, including the bedroom. If adjustments are made without letting the landlord know (eg., hanging pictures on the wall), you may be eligible to pay for the damage caused.
 

What is a Condition Report?

A Condition Report is a document that details the general condition of the property. Before a tenant moves in, the landlord will visually inspect the property and make clear any damages to furniture, carpet, or other belongings. For example, if there’s a small stain on the tenant’s bedroom carpet, the landlord should write as much information about this as possible.

After inspecting the entire property, the landlord should provide the tenant with 2 copies of the Condition report (one that the tenant keeps, and another which they’ll give back to the landlord). The tenant will then read through each comment and agree, or make adjustments if they don’t agree. For example, if the landlord says that the bedroom carpet is in good condition, but you as the tenant see burn marks on the carpet, you need to mention this on the form.

The Condition report is very important because it will be used as evidence if there are any disputes with the bond. In the example above, if the tenant agreed with the landlord on the Condition report that the bedroom carpet was in good condition (even though it had burn marks), it would be much harder to claim that you didn't cause the burn marks yourself, as the Condition report wasn't filled in properly.

It is therefore very important to read the Condition report carefully, and write down any marks, stains, or damages that you can see. Example of what a Standard form Condition Report in PDF format (size: 179kb) from NSW Fair Trading.

For more information on what a Condition Report is, please watch the following video - Condition Report Video.

Does a Condition report need to be filled out?

Yes, it is in the best interest of both the tenant and landlord to fill out a Condition report as it will be used as evidence when the bond is returned. A Condition report should be filled out, even if a bond is not required.
 

Rent back to top

Does rent need to be paid in advance before moving in?

It is up to the landlord whether they want rent to be paid in advance.
 

How much rent should be paid in advance?

The rent in advance must not exceed 2 weeks. The advanced rent payment is in addition to a bond. Therefore, a tenant may be required to pay the equivalent of 6 weeks rent before moving in. Please note - the 2 weeks rent in advance is not another form of bond. The tenant is simply paying 2 weeks rent in advance, meaning the no rent is due until 2 weeks have passed.
 

Can rent be paid in cash?

Yes, this is fine although the landlord needs to provide receipts for any money received from the tenant.
 

Does the landlord need to provide me (tenant) with receipts?

Although the landlord is not required to issue a reciept after each rental payment, it is good practise for the landlord to do so, especially if the tenant has paid by cash or cheque. If the tenant has paid by bank transfer, there will be an online record of this transaction so a receipt is probably not necessary. If you are issued with a reciept of payment, ensure you keep these in a safe place.
 

Can the landlord increase the rental amount?

NOTICE OF A RENT INCREASE

If the fixed term period of your lease has ended and you are on a continuing (periodic) tenancy the landlord may increase the rent by giving you at least 60 days notice in writing before the date the increased rent becomes payable. The notice must:

•specify the proposed new amount of rent (not the amount of the increase) and
•specify the date from which the increased rent is payable and
•be signed, dated and properly addressed to you.

If you have entered into a tenancy without having a written agreement in place, the rent cannot be increased during the first 6 months.
If you are renewing a tenancy agreement for a further fixed term, the rent cannot be increased automatically. You must still be given 60 days written notice before the rent increase can take effect.

DURING A FIXED TERM AGREEMENT

During a fixed term agreement of less than 2 years the rent cannot be increased, unless a term has been added to the agreement saying it can. The agreement must spell out the amount of the increase or the method of calculating the increase (eg. a dollar amount or %). It cannot be unclear like ‘in line with the market’ or ‘by the rate of inflation’. Even where you have agreed to the increase in the agreement, you still have to be given 60 days written notice before it can take effect.

During a fixed term agreement of 2 years or more the rent can be increased at any time (so long as 60 days written notice is given) but cannot be increased more than once in any 12 month period. After receiving a rent increase notice, you have the option to give 21 days notice to terminate the agreement. The notice must be given before the increase becomes payable. If you take this option you are not considered to have broken the agreement early.

NEGOTIATING WITH THE LANDLORD

If you receive a rent increase notice, you can ask to discuss it with the landlord or agent. They may be willing to reduce the amount of the increase, especially if you are a long standing and reliable tenant. If the landlord agrees to a smaller increase you do not have to be given another 60 days notice. The lower increase simply becomes payable from the same day as stated in the original notice. Make sure any agreement you reach is put in writing and signed by yourself and the landlord or agent. In addition, you could ask to sign a new lease for a new fixed period. That way you will lock in the rent for at least the length of the new lease.

CHALLENGING AN INCREASE

If you think a rent increase is excessive you can apply to the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal. You must apply within 30 days of receiving the rent increase notice. The Tribunal will consider:

•rents for similar premises in the same area or a similar area (ie. the ‘market rent’)
•the landlord’s costs associated with the tenancy agreement
•the value and nature of fittings, appliances and other goods, services and facilities provided with the premises
•the state of repair of the property
•the accommodation and amenities of the premises
•­any work you have done to the premises
•when the last increase occurred
•any other relevant matter, except your income or whether you can afford the increase.

While all these factors are important, the main consideration for the Tribunal is the market rent. If you are thinking about challenging the increase at the Tribunal, contact your local Tenants Advice and Advocacy Service. They can give you assistance on the type of evidence you will need. Newspaper clippings of other properties for rent will not be enough.

If the Tribunal decides that the rent increase is excessive it can order that the rent not be increased or that it be increased by a smaller amount. It can also set the maximum rent for a period of up to 12 months. If the rent increase comes into effect before your case is heard by the Tribunal you should pay the increased amount until the Tribunal has made its decision. If the Tribunal decides in your favour it can make an order for a refund.

Applying to the Tribunal is the only way to challenge a rent increase. If you have been given proper notice and you do not pay the increase, you will fall behind with the rent over time. This can lead to you being evicted. If you are not given proper notice you do not have to pay the increase. If you have already started paying the increase you can ask the landlord to refund the extra payments and apply to the Tribunal if they refuse.

What happens if I fall behind on my rent?

The landlord may issue the tenant    with a written payment reminder notice, or let them know in person that they are late on their payment. If rent is regulary late, the landlord can apply to the 'Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal' for an order that will force the tenant comply with the terms outlined in the tenancy agreement. Please note - this order cannot result in the termination of the tenancy if the non-payment of rent continues.

Alternatively, if the tenant falls more than 14 days behind in their rent, the landlord can issue a termination notice which will give the tenant 14 days to vacate the property. The notice must be in writing, be signed and dated, be addressed to the tenant, include the date of vacation, and include the reason for early termination.

 

Vacating the Property back to top

Is it possible for me (tenant) to break my Tenancy Agreement early?

Although it is possible to break your agreement early, you may be eligible for extra costs if you do. For example, if you break your contract during a fixed term, you may need to pay rent until a new tenant takes over or the fixed term period ends (whichever one occurs first).

IMPORTANT: the landlord must take all reasonable steps to find a replacement tenant as soon as possible. The more you can do to help your landlord find a replacement, the less costs you will potentially need to pay. You can check to see whether your landlord is advertising the property by searching the property address on Sydney's rental websites (eg., domain.com.au, realestate.com.au, gumtree.com.au, flatmatefinders.com.au, find.accommodation.mq.edu.au).

If you do not believe that your landlord is making a big enough effort in finding a replacement, you should contact the Department of Fair Trading. Some examples of this include making it harder for someone else to move in (eg., increasing rental costs or unreasonably rejecting potential tenants), not advertising the property online, or rejecting help from you to assist them in finding a replacement. In these cases, you may not need to pay the full amount outstanding. Please visit the following website for more information - Department of Fair Trading.

BREACH BY THE LANDLORD:
If your landlord has not complied with the terms outlined in your tenancy agreement, you may be able to end your agreement early without financial penalty (eg., if the landlord fails to keep the property in good condition/ fails to repair broken items). In this case, you should give 14 days notice of termination to your landlord. If they disagree with your reasoning for termination, they can submit an application to the Tribunal (Dept of Fair Trading) for review.

Alternatively, you can apply to the Tribunal yourself without giving notice. You will need to provide the Tribunal with evidence that the breach of contract justifies your early termination. For more information, please visit the above website.

ENDING THE AGREEMENT WITHOUT PENALTY:
- You can provide 14 days notice for early termination without financial penalty if: 1) You have accepted an offer of social housing (e.g. from Housing NSW); 2) You need to move into an aged care facility or nursing home (not a retirement village); 3) You have obtained a final apprehended violence order against somebody you were living with; 4) The landlord has put the premises on the market for sale, and you were not told before signing the lease that a contract for sale had been drawn up

- You can provide 21 days notice for early termination without financial penalty if you have a fixed term agreement of more than 2 years and you have been given a rent increase notice

If you give notice for any of these reasons, then you are able to end the agreement early without having to pay any compensation or other costs to the landlord.

MUTUAL CONSENT:
Any tenancy agreement can be ended at any time if the landlord and tenant mutually agree.

For more information, please visit the following website for more information - Department of Fair Trading.

Can I (landlord) break the Tenancy Agreement early? How much notice is required?

You must provide the tenant with a written termination notice if you wish them to vacate the premises early. This letter should be written in clear language, be signed and dated, and have the reason, and date of required departure included on the notice.

You must give the   tenant   the following notice periods:

14 days – if the tenant is 14 days or more behind on their rent, or has committed a breach of the tenancy agreement
30 days – if the fixed term of the agreement is due to end
30 days – if the premises has been sold after the fixed term has ended and vacant possession is required by the buyer under the terms of the sale contract
90 days – if the fixed term period has expired and no new agreement has been signed.

There is no minimum notice period required if:

• The premises is destroyed or wholly or partly uninhabitable
• The premises is legally unusable as a residence
• The premises is acquired by compulsory process (e.g. by the RTA)
• The sole tenant dies

Please note - the above notice periods are aimed to help the tenant find alternate accommodation. If the tenant finds another property sooner than this, they can move out at any time without giving any formal notice.

For more information, please visit Department of Fair Trading.

What happens if the tenant refuses to leave?

You should contact the 'Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal' for a possession order within 30 days after the vacation date specified on the termination notice. Please note - you cannot forcefully evict the tenant, or change the locks of the property. If the Tribunal grants the landlord with a possession order, the tenant will be given a final date to move out. If the tenant has still not moved out by this time, the landlord can obtain a warrant for possession from the 'Tribunal’s Registry' and have it enforced by the Local Court Sheriff’s Office.

For more information, please visit the following link - Fair Trading.

Should I (tenant) give notice if my Tenancy Agreement is due to end/ has already ended?

IMPORTANT: if you wish to break your contract early, please read the post titled 'Is it possible for me (tenant) to break my Tenancy Agreement early?'

ENDING YOUR AGREEMENT AT THE END OF A FIXED TERM:
You should provide your landlord with at least 14 days notice if you want to end your tenancy at the time your agreement is due to run out. This notice can be given up to and including the last day of the fixed term.

ENDING YOUR AGREEMENT AFTER THE FIXED TERM:
If you have not yet signed another lease with your landlord, you should provide at least 21 days notice if you want to end your tenancy after the fixed term has already ended. This notice can be given at any time and does not have to line up with the rent payment cycle. You must pay the rent up to and including the day your notice ends and you vacate.

GETTING NOTICE FROM YOUR LANDLORD:
If your landlord serves you with a termination notice you can move out any time before the notice ends without having to give your own notice.

For more information, please visit Department of Fair Trading.

Miscellaneous back to top

What is discrimination?

Discrimination occurs when a group of people, or persons, is treated less favourably because of their race, sex, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, age, or because they are pregnant.

Back to top

Can I be discriminated against when trying to find a home?

While your landlord is able to select whom they want as a tenant, they are not allowed to unfairly discriminate against you when you apply for accommodation. For more information on discrimination when renting, please visit - NSW Fair Trading Website.

I don't think the cost for my share of electricity usage is fair. What can I do?

Your landlord needs to provide you with a copy of the electricity bill before asking you to make payment. If there are only 2 of you living in the property, it is fair for you to pay 50% of the electricity bill.

Your landlord is not allowed to make you pay for the full electricity bill if they are also using the property. If you still don’t believe your landlord is being fair about electricity usage, please speak to NSW Fair Trading (13 32 20).

What is the average cost for electricity usage per quarter?

Calculating the ‘average’ cost is difficult as everyone's electricity usage is different. Endeavour Energy has an energy calculator that can help you work out what you should be paying though - http://www.endeavourenergy.com.au/wps/portal/ee/!u...