Renting families and property owners in NSW are both set to benefit from modernised residential tenancy laws that passed Parliament on October 18.
Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean said there were a number of significant reforms that make life easier for tenants, with more than 30 per cent of the NSW population now renting.
“These reforms have struck the right balance by increasing tenant’s rights, while also protecting a landlord’s investment,” Mr Kean said.
“Renting families can now make their house feel more like a home, with greater clarity around what minor alterations they can carry out.
And they will also enjoy a set of basic standards so their home is up to scratch when they move in.”
Under the changes, all rental properties must meet a set of liveable standards.
Properties will have to meet seven 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.
- Structurally sound property.
- Adequate natural or artificial lighting in each room, except storage rooms or garages.
- Adequate ventilation.
- Supplied with electricity or gas and have adequate electricity or gas outlets for lighting, heating and appliances.
- Adequate plumbing and drainage.
- Connected to a water supply service or infrastructure for the supply of hot and cold water for drinking, washing and cleaning.
- Contains bathroom facilities, including toilet and washing facilities, which allows user privacy.
Concerns around retaliatory rent increases have been addressed through the reform, by restricting rent increases to once every 12 months for fixed term leases.
Landlords will benefit from new Fair Trading powers that can direct a tenant to fix up damages they cause to a property.
The changes also strengthen protections for victims of domestic violence, allowing tenants to escape a violent partner by immediately breaking a lease without penalty.
“No one should have to endure a violent home, so victims can now quickly leave a dangerous environment by providing a provisional AVO, or declaration from a doctor,” Mr Kean said.
“This removes the added trauma of having to appear in court, and reduces the time it takes to escape a violent partner.”
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.