New legislation has been introduced to NSW Parliament which proposes to amend residential rental laws. The proposed amendments are the most significant changes to the laws in recent times and are likely in response to the increase in the number of renters in NSW.
The most significant proposed changes to the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 are:
- rents paid in a periodic agreement are not allowed to be raised more than once a year;
- tenants or co-tenants can give a domestic violence termination notice without penalty if they are the victim of domestic violence;
properties must meet new minimum standards, including:
- basic access to electricity and gas;
- structurally sound buildings;
- adequate natural or artificial lighting as well as ventilation; and
- adequate outlets for lighting, heating and appliances,
- landlords must repair smoke alarms with a maximum penalty of $2,200 for failing to repair;
- landlords cannot unreasonably refuse minor alterations, such as picture hooks;
- the landlord must provide a tenant with at least 2 copies of the completed condition report after signing a residential tenancy agreement, with a maximum penalty of $2,200;
Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean, who introduced the reforms, said that “under these common-sense changes, renting families will be able to make minor alternations, such as installing a picture hook to hang their family photos, and will benefit from a new set of minimum standards to ensure properties are in a liveable condition”.
If you are unsure of your responsibilities as a landlord or you want advice of your rights as a tenant, please do not hesitate to contact us.