A landlord can only demand payment of two weeks rent in advance and a bond [ss 53, 54]. The total amount of the payment in advance can add up to a substantial sum, although help may be obtained from Housing SA, see Financial assistance.
However, a landlord can legally request payment from a prospective tenant for an option to enter into a residential tenancy agreement. If the prospective tenant goes ahead with the residential tenancy agreement, the landlord must then apply the money received against rent payable under the agreement. If the prospective tenant does not enter into the residential tenancy agreement, the landlord may keep the money received [s 53(2)(a)].
The landlord may also require a tenant to reimburse him/her for water rates as well as electricity, gas, telephone, internet and/or subscription television services if these accounts are in the landlord's name [s 53(2)(b),(c)].
With the exception of water supply charges, a landlord cannot pass on any statutory charges connected with a property (e.g. sewerage, Emergency Services Levy) [s 73].
If a landlord (or an agent acting for a landlord) invites or requires a tenant or prospective tenant to sign a written residential tenancy agreement, the landlord must provide the tenant with a copy of the agreement and must bear the costs of its preparation [s 49].
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