A landlord is the person who owns the place you rent. Some landlords manage their rental properties by themselves, but a lot of them use property managers.
Property managers usually work for real estate agents, looking after lots of rental properties on behalf of lots of different landlords.
Whether you're dealing directly with your landlord, or going through a real estate agent or property manager, these are the people you'll be paying rent to.
Your lease should have specific instructions about how much rent you're supposed to pay and how often you have to pay it. Rent can be paid in person or using direct debit.
Note that if a landlord wants you to pay using direct debit, they have to let you know before you sign your lease.
Once you've signed the lease you're responsible for paying rent on time. You can't stop paying rent until your lease has officially ended - even if you're in the middle of a dispute with your landlord.
For more about signing leases, check out our Signing a lease page.
When you pay rent, getting a receipt is a good idea - it proves you've paid on time.
If you're paying your rent by electronic funds transfer (EFT) or direct debit, make sure there's enough money in your bank account to cover it, otherwise your payment will be late.
Consumer Affairs Victoria has some good information on their Rent responsibilities and increases page about asking for receipts and what to do if you have trouble with your payments.
What happens if my rent is late?
If you know that you won't be able to pay your rent on time, the first thing you should do is contact your landlord/property manager and ask if you can arrange for a later payment. They may be totally fine with the occasional late payment.
If your rent is 14 days late or later, your landlord or property manager is legally allowed to ask you to move out by giving you a legal letter called a "notice to vacate". You don't have to move out if you get a notice to vacate, though - you can challenge your landlord/property manager's claim if you want to.
It's also illegal for a landlord to physically make you move out of your rental property - only the police can to that, and only after a series of legal steps have been taken.
Problems with your landlord
For more information about what to do if you have problems with your landlord, check out our Problems with the landlord page.
Tenants Union of Victoria
For residential tenants living in Victoria who require information on their legal rights.
This free app has heaps of advice for renters, including email templates for requests like repairs to the property that can help smooth communication between renters and landlords/property managers.
Consumer Affairs Victoria - Renting
Advice on dealing with disagreements between landlords, agents and tenants.
Renting a Home: A Guide for Tenants
This Consumer Affairs Victoria handbook explains landlord, tenant and agent rights and responsibilities under Victorian residential tenancy law.