6 Rights and Responsibilities of a flatmate



Read the lease


In Victoria, you have both rights and responsibilities to uphold as a flatmate. In Victoria, residential tenancy agreements (leases) are regulated by the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 and overseen by Consumer Affairs Victoria. If you become a flatmate of a leased property, you and the landlord are bound to comply with the legislation.


Types of Tenancy Agreements


Fixed-term lease: This type of lease specifies a set period during which the tenant agrees to rent the property. It typically lasts for a specific number of months or years.


Periodic lease: This type of lease continues indefinitely until either the tenant or landlord gives notice to terminate the tenancy. It typically renews automatically on a periodic basis (e.g., month-to-month). As a flatmate it is prudent to inquire about the lease type.


Lease terms and conditions


The lease should outline the terms and conditions of the tenancy, including the duration of the tenancy, rent amount, payment frequency, and any other relevant agreements such as rules regarding pets or smoking. Both landlords and tenants are bound by the terms of the lease agreement once it is signed. Again, as a flatmate it is prudent to inquire about the terms and conditions.


Rent payments


The lease should specify the amount of rent, how often it is due, and the preferred method of payment. In Victoria, rent increases during a fixed-term lease are generally not allowed unless stated otherwise in the lease agreement. As a flatmate site the original agreement.




Landlords may require tenants to pay a bond (security deposit) at the beginning of the tenancy. This is typically equivalent to one month’s rent. The bond must be lodged with the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority (RTBA), and tenants should receive a receipt and lodgement number. As a flatmate, you may be asked to contribute to the bond


Condition Report


Before moving in, the landlord or agent should provide the tenant with a condition report detailing the condition of the property. The tenant should carefully review and return the condition report within a specified timeframe, noting any discrepancies. This report is important for documenting the condition of the property to avoid disputes over bond deductions at the end of the tenancy. As a new flatmate inquire about the condition report as you do not want to be burdened with damage you were not responsible for.


Repairs and maintenance


Landlords are responsible for ensuring the property is maintained in a reasonable state of repair, including fixing any structural issues or essential services (e.g., plumbing, electricity). Tenants are responsible for keeping the property clean and notifying the landlord of necessary repairs.


Ending the tenancy


Both landlords and tenants have rights and responsibilities when ending a tenancy. The notice period required depends on the type of tenancy agreement. Landlords must follow specific procedures to end a tenancy, such as providing notice in writing and giving valid reasons for termination.


Both landlords and tenants must understand their rights and obligations under the lease agreement to ensure a smooth tenancy experience. If there are any disputes or concerns, parties can seek assistance from Consumer Affairs Victoria or the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).


Your rights as a flatmate


  1. Right to a habitable environment. You have the right to live in a property that meets basic health and safety standards. This includes access to utilities like water, electricity, and heating.


  1. Right to privacy. You have the right to privacy in your room and personal belongings. Your flatmates should respect your space and privacy.


  1. Right to quiet enjoyment. You have the right to enjoy your living space without undue interference or disturbances from your flatmates. This includes reasonable noise levels during appropriate hours.


  1. Right to fair treatment. You have the right to be treated fairly and respectfully by your flatmates. This includes being included in household decisions and having your concerns heard.


  1. Right to a clean environment. You have the right to live in a clean and hygienic environment. This includes shared spaces like the kitchen and bathroom being kept reasonably clean.


  1. Right to express concerns. As you are bound by rules and regulations breaches need to be expressed and remedied. You have the right to ensure you are not part of any breach that you may believe is occurring.


Your responsibilities as a flatmate


  1. Paying rent and bills. You are responsible for paying your share of the rent and any household bills (such as utilities and internet) on time.


  1. Respecting shared spaces. You should respect shared spaces by cleaning up after yourself, doing your share of household chores, and not monopolizing common areas.


  1. Respecting others. Treat your flatmates with respect and consideration. This includes being mindful of noise levels, respecting their privacy and constructively resolving matters.


  1. Communicate openly and honestly with your flatmates. If you have any concerns or issues, raise them promptly and try to find mutually acceptable solutions.


  1. Complying with Tenancy Agreements. If you are a party to a tenancy agreement, you are responsible for complying with its terms and conditions, including any rules set out by the landlord or property manager.


  1. Notifying changes. You should notify your flatmates in advance of any changes to your circumstances that may affect the household (such as inviting guests to stay or moving out).


By understanding that rental laws are binding it is important you review the lease and determine the status before you commit to becoming a flatmate. The rights and responsibilities are also legally enforceable and enable you to contribute to a harmonious living environment for yourself and your flatmates.