Changes to NSW tenancy laws which improve tenants’ renting experience while ensuring that landlords can effectively manage their properties start on 23 March 2020.
The changes to the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 and the new Residential Tenancies Regulation 2019 deliver important protections for tenants and landlords. With more than 30 percent of the NSW population now renting, the changes are timely and critical, as demand for quality rental properties continues to grow.
The changes will reduce disputes over repairs and maintenance, increase protection and certainty for tenants, clarify the rights and obligations of tenants and landlords and improve transparency between these two parties.
Key changes include:
* NSW landlords must ensure that their rental property meets 7 minimum standards to be ‘fit for habitation’
* new and improved disclosure obligations on landlords and their agents, including disclosure of material facts, and strengthening the remedies for tenants when these obligations aren’t met
* landlords must ensure that smoke alarms are in working order. A penalty will apply for landlords who don’t comply
* making it easier for tenants to install fixtures or make alterations, additions or renovations that are minor
* mandatory set fees when a tenant breaks their lease will apply to all new fixed-term agreements that are 3 years or less
* limiting rent increases to once every 12 months for periodic (continuing) leases
* new powers for NSW Fair Trading to resolve disputes between tenants and landlords. This includes powers to investigate and issue rectification orders to require landlords to carry out repairs and maintenance, or tenants to fix damage.
New forms and guidelines will be available before the new laws start on 23 March 2020.