What is an unfair clause?

An unfair clause is a term or ‘clause’ in a tenancy agreement that disadvantages the tenant or takes away their legal rights. This could be something hidden away in the fine print, or a term that imposes unreasonable restrictions, duties or penalties on the tenant.
Tenancy terms must not reduce the landlord’s legal responsibility to a tenant or deprive tenants of their legal rights. In other words, a landlord cannot “opt out” of their legal responsibilities.
For tenancy agreements to be considered fair, they must:
  • Be easy to understand
  • Provide a balance of responsibilities between both parties (landlord and tenant)
Any unfair clauses in tenancy agreements would not be enforceable in court. Should the court agree they are unfair, it wouldn’t matter that the tenant agreed to the terms at the start of the tenancy; they would still be unenforceable.