The Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (the RTA) is the law that governs renting in the ACT. It provides a balanced framework that gives tenants strong protections, so they feel secure in their homes, while respecting the legitimate rights and interests of landlords in their property. The law also provides for fast, independent and informal resolution of disputes through the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

The RTA also sets out the law on occupancies. Occupancies are an alternative form of legal agreement for housing to tenancies. People who live in student accommodation, crisis accommodation, a mobile home park, or a room in a club or boarding house, will usually be occupants. Occupants are also protected under the RTA with minimum guaranteed rights and access to dispute resolution options to enforce them.

Access to secure and stable housing is fundamental to well-being. The information on this page is intended to help landlords, tenants, occupants and grantors to know their rights and obligations. This allows the parties to tenancy and occupancy agreements to make informed choices, manage their relationship with confidence, minimise and constructively resolve disputes, and as necessary enforce their rights.

The information on this page is to help you understand the law in general terms. It is not a substitute for legal advice on your individual circumstances.

COVID-19: changes to tenancy and occupancy laws

The Government has put in place a range of measures to help tenants, landlords, occupants and grantors who are affected by the COVID-19 public health emergency. See the dedicated Covid-19 pages below for more information.

Information for tenants and occupants

Information for landlords and real estate agents

Reforms to tenancy and occupancy laws

Since 2016, the ACT Government has worked to reform the RTA to make our tenancy and occupancy laws clearer and fairer to produce better outcomes for all parties involved. For more information on the changes, including those planned for the future, click here.

Need more information or advice?

The RTA is available on the ACT Legislation Register at www.legislation.act.gov.au.

The Rental Bonds Portal where residential tenancy rental bonds or occupancy security deposits can be lodged is available at https://www.revenue.act.gov.au/rental-bonds

More information about the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal is available at www.acat.act.gov.au. The Tribunal does not give legal advice but can provide information about its processes. The Tribunal can be contacted on (02) 6207 1740 or tribunal@act.gov.au.

The Tenancy Advice Service ACT (operated by Legal Aid ACT) is funded by the ACT Government to provide legal advice to tenants. For more information, and a range of online resources for tenants, see: https://www.legalaidact.org.au/tasact or contact 1300 402 512 or TAS@legalaidact.org.au.

If you are a tenant in public housing (from Housing ACT), crisis accommodation or community housing, the Housing Law service at Canberra Community Law can provide you with free and confidential legal advice. For more information, and a range of online resources for public housing tenants, see: https://www.canberracommunitylaw.org.au/ :You can contact them on (02) 6218 7977 or info@canberrcommunitylaw.org.au

The Legal Advice Bureau at the Law Society is a free service that can provide advice to both tenants and landlords. For more information, see https://www.actlawsociety.asn.au/for-the-public/legal-help/legal-advice-bureau or contact (02) 6274 0300.