Recently the NSW Parliament passed the Residential Tenancies Amendment (Review) Bill 2018, which covers a number of amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act 2010.
The aim of the changes is to "increase protection and certainty for renters, while ensuring that landlords can protect their investment and effectively manage their properties" (sourced from NSW Fair Trading).
The amendments also aim to provide greater protection for victims of domestic violence, make it easier for tenants to make a rental property a home and reduce repair and maintenance disputes.
It was deemed to be a critical time to review the Residential Tenancies Act 2010, with figures indicating that more than 30% of the NSW population is renting.
What Residential Tenancy Laws Are Changing in NSW?
The following list provides an overview of the areas of residential tenancy laws which will be changing.
Protections for domestic violence victims
Tenants who need to escape a violent partner will be able to terminate their tenancy immediately and without penalty in circumstances of domestic violence.
Tenants who are victims or a co-tenant who is not the perpetrator will not be held accountable for property damage that occurred during a domestic violence incident.
Landlords and their agents will also be prohibited from listing a victim of domestic violence on a tenancy database if they terminated their tenancy in circumstances of domestic violence.
There will be 7 minimum standards which rental properties will have to meet at the start of a tenancy to be deemed fit for habitation. While not an exhaustive list determining whether a property is fit for habitation or not, the new minimum standards will be:
These standards must be maintained throughout the tenancy by way of repairs.
NSW Fair Trading will have new powers to resolve disputes between tenants and landlords over repairs and maintenance and property damage caused by tenants. This includes the ability to issue orders to rectify issues.
Tenants on periodic leases will only be able to have their rent increased once every 12 months.
Break fees for ending a fixed-term lease early
Mandatory fees will be set for the early breaking of a fixed-term lease. These break fees will apply to all new fixed-term leases that are 3 years old or less and which are entered into after the new laws start.
The new break fees will be:
Additional changes to NSW tenancy laws
When do the new residential tenancy laws in NSW start?
According to NSW Fair Trading, "the Government will consult widely with all affected stakeholders and the community during the development of the regulations, including an appropriate start date for the reforms".
In other words, the start date is yet to be determined at the time of writing. However, NSW Fair Trading has advised that the start date will consider the time landlords, tenants and agents need to comply with the new requirements.
We will of course be remaining well informed as additional information is revealed, and sharing updates with our landlords and tenants.
Looking for a property management team in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie who will keep you informed of changes in regulation and your obligations as a landlord? Contact us today.
Carnelian Property Management Newcastle NSW
We are a family-owned and run Newcastle real estate agent offering expert property management across Newcastle and Lake Macquarie.