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Property Management | 3 min read

Changes to state tenancy laws 2020

Josh Symons

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Josh Symons

The last two decades have seen a continued surge in long-term renting, making the private rental sector the fastest growing part of the Australian housing system - more than twice the rate of household growth.

State governments are responding to this trend with new reforms to tenancy laws, providing more clarification on the rights of both tenants and landlords and to improve the rental experience. 

Here is a summary of the key changes to tenancy laws you need to know, listed by state.

NSW

Effective on 23 March 2020, these are the amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 and the new Residential Tenancies Regulation 2019:

  1. Clarified minimum standards for landlords to provide in a rented property: Landlords must make sure their rental property is “structurally sound”; contains private bathroom facilities; and provides adequate lighting, ventilation, gas and electricity.
  2. New penalties for landlords who fail to maintain smoke alarms.
  3. Landlords will no longer be able to unreasonably stop tenants from making renovations of a “minor nature”.
  4. New mandatory set break fees for tenants who cancel a fixed-term agreement.
  5. For prospective strata tenants, landlords and owners will need to provide a copy of the strata scheme’s by-laws before a tenancy agreement is signed.

More information can be found on the NSW Fair Trading website page  or you can attend the REINSW Roadshow to learn more. 

VIC

The following reforms will commence by 1 July 2020:

  1. Landlords will no longer be able to evict tenants without cause once a fixed-term agreement expires (i.e. banning no grounds evictions).
  2. Landlords who have committed an offence under the new rental laws will be listed on a register from the Consumer Affairs Victoria website.
  3. Tenants will be allowed to make minor modifications without their landlord’s consent.
  4. Rent increases outside fixed-term agreements will be limited to one per year.
  5. Landlords cannot outright refuse consent for tenants to keep pets. They will need obtain an official order from the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal before they can refuse permission.

Detailed information can be found on the renting changes page of the Consumer Affairs Victoria website

ACT

The Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2019 have taken effect on 1 November 2019 with the following changes:

  1. Rent increases outside fixed-term agreements are limited to one per year.
  2. Rental agreements allow more flexibility in keeping pets. Landlords can only refuse consent with the approval of ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
  3. Landlords can only refuse consent to tenants who wish to make minor modifications if they obtain approval from the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal. Minor changes include: Installing picture hooks, setting up a herb garden, and affixing blinds to a window.

Detailed information can be found on the RTA 2019 page of the ACT Justice and Community Service website

Queensland

Proposed changes to Queensland tenancy laws is now under process with the following reforms:

  1. Owners will be asked to provide reasonable grounds for denying tenants the right to own a pet.
  2. All rental properties will need to meet new minimum standards.
  3. Landlords will no longer be able to evict tenants without cause once a fixed-term agreement expires (i.e. banning no grounds evictions).
  4. The government will make it easier for renters experiencing domestic and family violence to end tenancies without the usual notice requirements.

More information can be found on the renting page of the Queensland Department of Housing and Public Works website.

Compliance with your software solution

We understand that these new laws require strict compliance on your part. Rest assured that we are making changes across all our solutions - Property Tree, Rest Professional and Strata Master, to help you comply with the new regulations as they come into effect. 

 

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