Help! My tenant won’t sign the lease agreement

tenancy lease agreement

Have you secured a new tenant or seen your current tenant choose to stay on after the existing lease expires?

Whatever your circumstance, it’s important that you never rent to a tenant who will not sign a tenancy agreement. Even if you’re making small changes to update terms, not having a signed tenancy agreement in place can put a landlord in hot water.

A tenancy agreement is a written, legally binding contract that sets out the rules for tenants and landlords to follow.

It should cover:

  • Rent amount and how/when it is payable.
  • The tenancy term length.
  • The full names of all tenants living in the property.
  • Deposit and fee requirements.
  • Pet policy.
  • Restriction clauses (guest limitations, excessive noise, carrying out property alterations).
  • Repair and maintenance procedures.
  • Landlord property entry and review provisions.
  • Rent increase timeframes and notice.

It’s much more difficult to resolve misunderstandings and disputes down the track without having this written record in place. If you’re relying on an oral agreement, you won’t be able to evict a tenant under a tenancy breach quite as easily.

What to do if the tenant refuses to sign the lease

Unfortunately, you cannot force your tenant to sign a tenancy agreement, especially if they have already moved in. That’s why it’s so imperative that all paperwork is signed, sealed and delivered before the move-in date.

Here are a few options that may alleviate your situation:

  • Review: Consider compromising by amending the clauses that the tenant is not happy with, provided that the changes are reasonable. They will then likely sign it if it was only one or two minor things bugging them.
  • Refuse entry: If the tenant has not yet moved into your property, consider refusing to hand over the property keys until the tenancy agreement and other paperwork is signed. Don’t rely on oral excuses or promises.
  • Evict: Issue a valid notice to vacate. Pay attention to your state or territory’s minimum amount of days required to issue the notice of eviction from the tenant’s last rent payment date.

Contact K.G. Hurst today if you need assistance with managing your Sydney investment property. We’re experienced and are here to help.

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