New residential tenancy laws

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.

What are the reforms?

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.

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.

Minimum standards

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 are:

  1. Structurally sound property
  2. Adequate natural or artificial lighting in each room, except storage rooms or garages
  3. Adequate ventilation
  4. Supplied with electricity or gas and have adequate electricity or gas outlets for lighting, heating and appliances
  5. Adequate plumbing and drainage
  6. Connected to a water supply service or infrastructure for the supply of hot and cold water for drinking, washing and cleaning
  7. Contains bathroom facilities, including toilet and washing facilities, which allows user privacy.

These standards must be maintained throughout the tenancy (by way of repairs).

Rectification orders

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.

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