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Glossary

Aboriginal housing

Social housing that is owned or managed by an Aboriginal organisation (in New South Wales, either the Aboriginal Housing Office or an Aboriginal community housing organisation). See ‘social housing’.

Agent

A person who acts on behalf of another person (this other person is the agent’s ‘principal’). Real estate agents are required to be licensed under the Property, Stock and Business Agents Act 2002.

Assign

To give your legal rights (for example, your tenancy rights) to another person.
Also referred to as ‘transfer’.

Attornment

Acknowledgement of the purchaser of a property as the new landlord.

Boarder

A lodger who receives meals as well as accommodation. See ‘lodger’.

Bond

An amount of money given to a landlord by a tenant as security against losses caused by the tenant’s breach.

Common law

The law as developed over the centuries by the superior courts. Contrast ‘statute law’.

Community housing

Social housing that is owned or managed by a community organisation (in New South Wales, a registered community housing organisation). See ‘social housing’.

Controlled premises

Premises subjected to the Landlord and Tenant (Amendment) Act 1948. See ‘protected tenant’.

Distress

A common law remedy for rent arrears, now long abolished, whereby a landlord could enter rented premises and seize the tenant’s goods.

Eviction

The lawful removal of a person from occupation of a property.

Fixture

An object that is attached to land or premises such that it legally becomes part
of the property.

Frustration

The termination of an agreement because it has become impossible to perform.

Key money

A payment or security, additional to a bond, which many landlords used to charge. Now unlawful in relation to residential tenancies, key money is still charged in many boarding and lodging arrangements.

Lease

At common law, an agreement under which a person is granted a tenancy. Residential tenancy agreements are sometimes referred to as leases (even though, strictly speaking, the definitions are slightly different – see ‘tenancy’).

Lessee

A tenant.

Lessor

A landlord.

Lockout

An unlawful eviction.

Lodger

A person who has a legal right to occupy premises, but not to the exclusion of the landlord, and who is not a tenant. See the section on Boarders and lodgers for more on the difference between tenants and lodgers.

Market rent

In social housing, the rent as stated in the tenancy agreement (and increased from time to time); contrast ‘rebated rent’.

Mitigate

Avoid or minimise loss or damage.

Mortgage

An interest in property given as security for a loan that allows the lender to sell the property in the event of a default.

Mortgagee

A lender who holds a mortgage as security for the loan.

Mortgagor

A borrower who has given the lender a mortgage as security for the loan.

Natural justice

See ‘procedural fairness’.

Procedural fairness

The legal obligation on certain officers (for example, Housing NSW officers, and Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal members), when making decisions that affect a person’s rights, interests or legitimate expectations, to make the decision fairly; that is, by informing the person of the proposed decision, giving the person an opportunity to have their say, and considering all relevant matters and no irrelevant matters. Also called ‘natural justice’.

Protected tenant

A tenant of premises subject to the Landlord and Tenant (Amendment) Act 1948.

Public housing

Social housing that is owned or managed by a state agency (in New South Wales, Housing NSW). See ‘social housing’.

Rebated rent

In social housing, the rent actually paid by a tenant, based on their household income. Contrast ‘market rent’.

Residential tenancy agreement

An agreement under which a person grants to another person for value a right of occupation of residential premises for the purpose of use as a residence (defined at section 13 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010).

Social housing

Rental housing that is owned or managed by a state agency or non-government organisation and let to eligible persons at affordable rents. Public housing, community housing and Aboriginal housing are all types of social housing.

Statute law

The law as set down in Acts of Parliament and Regulations. Statute law can override common law.

Statutory declaration

A written statement, in the form set down by the Oaths Act 1900, sworn or affirmed to be true by the person making it.

Squatter

A person who occupies property without the consent of the owner or lawful occupier. A ‘trespasser’.

Sub-tenancy

A tenancy given by a person who is a tenant.

Summons

An order issued by the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal or a court, either at the request of a party or on its own motion, for a person to attend and give evidence as a witness.

Tenancy

The legal right to occupy a property for a term or period. At common law, a tenancy is a right to exclusive possession (that is, the tenant can exclude all other persons, including the landlord, from the property); under the Residential Tenancies Act 2010, the right to occupy does not have to be exclusive.

Trespasser

A person who is on property without the consent of the owner or lawful occupier.

Warrant of possession

An order issued by the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal or a court to enforce an order for possession by authorising the NSW Sheriff to evict a former tenant.

Writ

A formal written order, issued by a court.