Occupancy agreements are not residential tenancies and the standard residential terms don’t apply. There are not many rules governing what terms can be in an occupancy agreement, particularly around termination of the occupancy. As such, the terms in the contract you sign are the terms that will govern your occupancy.
From 3 March 2021, mandatory occupancy principles were introduced that apply to occupancy agreements. Some of the principles include:
- that the premises must be reasonably clean, secure and in a reasonable state of repair when you move in;
- You must receive a condition report within one day of moving into the premises
- a security deposit can be no more than 4 weeks (if the occupancy is 6 months or more);
- any rules imposed on your occupancy must be reasonable and proportionate;
- any penalty for a breach of occupancy rules must reasonable and proportionate and must not impose unreasonable hardship on the occupant;
- the landlord can only enter the premises at specified times (e.g. under circumstances agreed on in the occupancy agreement);
- the landlord cannot interfere with your quiet and peaceful enjoyment of the tenancy.
The complete occupancy principles can be found here.
Important Note: The occupancy principles currently do not apply to students living on campus at university. However, most principles will come into effect for universities from 30 January 2022. You can view the university specific changes here. You may be required to attempt to resolve any dispute with the Hall/Unilodge via the university’s dispute resolution procedures (so long this can be done within a reasonable timeframe) before being able to take occupancy disputes to the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT).
If you have a dispute about an occupancy, you can also make a complaint to the ACT Human Rights Commission (including making a complaint about university provided accommodation from 30 January 2022). The Human Rights Commission can provide you with an independent forum to conciliate your dispute. This is in addition to your rights to make an application to the ACT Civil and Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
If you have an ongoing dispute regarding your university occupancy agreement that started before 30 January 2022, and is still ongoing, you may still be eligible to apply to the ACT Human Rights Commission, who may consider your dispute on a case by case basis.
For more information about your rights and obligations as a tenant, please read the ACT Renting Book.
NOTICE: This is legal information and is for general informational purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. These materials have been prepared for ANU Students by the ANUSA Legal Service. If you would like legal advice please book in for an appointment with the ANUSA Legal Service.
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[The legal information on this page was last reviewed on: 6 January 2022]