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VIC Tenants Rights - Am I a Co-tenant Without Signing a Lease?

Discussion in 'Property Law Forum' started by Alberto Ovalle, 26 November 2015.

  1. Alberto Ovalle

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    Hi all,

    When do I legally become a tenant, sub-tenant or co-tenant? What are my tenants rights / responsibilities? I think I am in a grey area here.

    Background of the situation:

    * I found a room for rent in a 2 bed apt. on Gumtree in Oct 2014.

    * I decided to rent it following the current tenant - conditions (at that stage she was the only tenant having signed the lease).

    * Conditions were: 200 p/w + bills, 2-week bond, and if I decided to move out - “two weeks notice”, this was very clear to me on that day. (verbal agreement and text message).

    * Moved in. Days later, as required, I was asked to fill and sign a property application form to the real estate firm. I signed and sent back.

    * Up to this stage, I did not sign a contract agreement or lease as such, nor a condition report and not a Bond application form was filled. (Bond conditions were two weeks rent, amount which was transferred directly to the current resident bank account).

    * Monday Oct 5th 2015, I decided to move out, giving a verbal notice to the main tenant, giving her three weeks before the rental payment date, so that if she decides to find someone else for the room, she will have time to do so. I know these things are not pleasant and did not wanted to give a hard time regardless of her future intentions with the property.

    * Two weeks later, I could not rent a property myself, so I decided to extend my intentions to vacate for another month and paid rent as normal. Maintenance was notified and aware of all my movements and intentions.

    * Nov 12th, I gave final written notice to vacate the property, giving two weeks notice before the payment cut date (26th).

    * Nov 14th, main tenant suddenly decides to move out as well, notifies real estate agent on the 14th, cc me in this email notice.

    * Further, she claims that I should stay until the next period of rent - 26th Nov - 26 Dec. as I did not give the 28 days notice normally required.

    * Sunday 15th, I moved out of the property as I finally signed a lease on my own somewhere else days before.

    Here is where I am not sure where I stand.

    She is now asking me to cover the expenses for the period until the lease ends.
    She claims I am on the lease and have the same duties as her. (but I never signed a contract agreement).

    When did I become a tenant or co-tenant without signing a lease?
    Does an application form make me equally responsible as the main tenant?
    The time since Oct 5th to Nov 12th, isn’t it good enough notice to vacate?

    At this stage I am confused what my duties are. On my books, I rented a room, I followed her conditions, and when I decide to move out I had to agree to be as responsible for the property just as she is. I had no intentions of renting the whole apt. that is why I never went to the real estate nor I receive a contract to agree and sign.

    From what I have read, I am not doing anything wrong, in fact, from my point of view she did sublet the room with the real estate approval, she did not lodge the bond either, which is illegal.

    I have read numerous posts for these disputes, however, I could not find anything related to a lease that has not been agreed or signed.

    Thank you in advance for any help,

    Kind Regards
     
  2. Sophea

    Sophea Well-Known Member

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    Hi Alberto,

    Based on what you have described above - and if you have not signed a lease agreement then I would say you are a subtenant. This is where a head tenant is named on the and they become your landlord with you as the tenant.

    As you have identified bonds must be lodged and a receipt must be given by the head tenant. There are penalties for failing to do this.
    • Anyone paying a bond must be given a receipt by the property manager/owner or the head tenant.
     
  3. Alberto Ovalle

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    Thank you for the follow up.

    I've decided contacting the property manager and he confirmed that there is only one tenant on the property lease, and that is not me.
    The agreement was with my the landlord (flatmate), and I should stick on what we agree when moving in. I now face the hassle to get the remaining bond back.

    Cheers,
     
  4. Sophea

    Sophea Well-Known Member

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    As a subtenant you still have the right to appeal to the Residential Tenancies Tribunal (VCAT) if your head tenant refuses to give it back.
     

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