The NSW Parliament has passed the Residential Tenancies Amendment (Review) Bill 2018.
Parliament has passed a series of amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act 2010, which are designed to increase protection and certainty for renters, while ensuring that landlords can protect their investment and effectively manage their properties.
The amendments give effect to the majority of the recommendations of the statutory review of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 and includes additional reforms. Key stakeholders were consulted extensively as part of this process.
With more than 30 percent of the NSW population now renting, the amendments are both timely and critical as demand for quality rental properties continues to grow.
The reforms further improve protections for victims of domestic violence, and improve tenants’ renting experience by making it easier for tenants to make a rental property a home and reducing disputes over repairs and maintenance.
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.
Rented properties will have to meet 7 minimum standards at the start of a tenancy to be fit for habitation. These are baseline standards and are not an exhaustive list of whether a property is fit for habitation.
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 will include the ability to issue rectification orders.
The reforms will help reduce tenants’ fear of retaliatory rent increases by limiting them to once every 12 months for periodic leases.
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.
The start date will consider the time landlords, tenants and agents need to comply with the new requirements.