At the time a tenancy agreement is entered into the parties should arrange when and where the rent is to be paid, and should keep to that arrangement throughout the tenancy unless new arrangements are made.
A landlord must provide a tenant with at least one means of payment other than cash payment or payment through a rent collection agency (where the tenant pays a fee) [Residential Tenancies Act 1995 (SA) s 56A].
A landlord must keep the following records of any payments received:
- the date on which payment was received;
- the name of the person making the payment;
- the amount paid;
- the address of the premises to which payment relates;
- if payment is for rent – the period of the tenancy to which the payment relates;
- if payment is for a bond – a statement of that fact;
- if payment is neither for rent or a bond – a description of the purpose of the payment.
See Residential Tenancies Act 1995 (SA) s 57(1).
A landlord or real estate agent must give a statement of payment information (with the details as listed in the paragraph above) if a written request is made by a tenant [s 58]. If payment is made by means other than by deposit in a bank, building society or credit union account, the tenant must be given a receipt within 48 hours [Residential Tenancies Act 1995 (SA) s 58(2)].
Payment in advance
A landlord or agent cannot require a tenant to pay rent more than two weeks in advance. The prohibition is against the landlord or agent requiring such a payment so, if a tenant voluntarily chooses to pay rent for more than two weeks in advance, the landlord may accept the payment [s 54].
A landlord or agent cannot require a tenant to pay rent with a post dated cheque [s 54(3)].
The rent cannot be increased under a fixed term agreement unless the agreement specifically allows for an increase.
Whether a tenancy agreement is periodic or for a fixed term, the rent cannot be increased during the first 12 months of the tenancy.
Any later increase cannot be within 12 months of a previous increase [see Residential Tenancies Act 1995 (SA) ss 55(1)-(2)].
When rent is to be increased, the tenant must be given at least 60 days written notice, setting out the amount of the increase and the day on which it is to take effect. There is no limit to the amount by which rent can be increased. A tenant who thinks that rent is excessive can apply to the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT) for an order to that effect. If the Tribunal finds that the rent is excessive it can fix a maximum rent for up to one year.
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.