Paul Wrigley comments on the New Residential Tenancies Act.

As you will read below this is the first reform of the act since they were introduced more than 20 years ago. There are some good and bad changes for both investors an tenants.

There will be a daily update on the new changes, however if you would like to receive our newsletter straight away please call our office – Ray White Toronto 4959 6577.

How will it impact every agent, landlord and tenant

 A new Residential Tenancies Act was passed by Parliament on 10 June, 2010 and is the first major reform to the New South Wales tenancy laws since they were introduced more than 20 years ago.

Act commenced on 31st January, 2011 and includes more than 100 reforms.

These changes will have a dramatic impact on how agents and landlords manage each tenancy.

To assist our landlords in understanding these changes and how they will impact on the management of properties, we have taken the time to summarise the key points.  As you can appreciate this newsletter only highlights some of the changes.

Aim of the New Legislation

The NSW Fair Trading and government legislators have stated that the aim of the new legislation is to:

 * fairly balance the rights and obligations of the tenants and landlords,

* modernise and update the law in line with current practices, and

* reduce the level of disputes, providing greater clarity and certainty in the legislation.

Many of the reforms in our opinion remove certainty for landlords, especially with regards to tenants giving notice and securing tenants.

 IMPORTANT TO READ

Following is an overview of the key reforms that every landlord needs to be aware of.

DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION

* A landlord/agent must disclose to the tenant if the premises:

  • have been subject to serious flooding or bushfire in the past five years, and
  • are subject to significant health or safety risks that are not apparent on inspection, and
  • have been the scene of a serious violent crime in the past five years.

THE TENANCY AGREEMENT – PROHIBITED TERMS

* The Residential Tenancies Act clearly states that the landlord/agent cannot contract outside of the Act or include prohibited terms in the agreement, such as:

EXAMPLES OF CONTRACTING OUTSIDE THE ACT:

  • Requesting the tenant to pay more rent in advance than allowed under the Act – i.e. two weeks.
  • Requesting that the tenant give more than the prescribed notice period to vacate the property than allowed under the Act – i.e. one month’s notice at the end of a fixed tenancy instead of two weeks.
  • Requesting the tenant to pay more bond than allowed under the Act – i.e. four weeks bond

EXAMPLES OF PROHIBITED TERMS:

  • the tenant must have the carpet professionally cleaned, or pay the cost of such cleaning, at the end of the tenancy,
  • the tenant must take out a specified, or any, form of insurance,
  • exempting the landlord from liability for any act or omission by the landlord, the landlord’s agent or any person acting on behalf of the landlord or landlord’s agent,
  • if the tenant breaches the agreement, the tenant is liable to pay all or any part of the remaining rent under the agreement, increased rent, a penalty or liquidated damages,
  • if the tenant does not breach the agreement, the rent is or may be reduced or the tenant is to be or may be paid a rebate of rent or other benefit.