Last week, changes were made to the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 & Residential Tenancies Regulation 2019. The changes aim to improve tenants’ renting experience while ensuring landlords can effectively manage their properties. Some of the amendments include reducing disputes over repairs and maintenance, increasing protection and certainty for tenants, and clarifying the rights and obligations of tenants and landlords.
The important issues that you should be aware of include:
- Smoke alarms are now the responsibility of the Landlord. All NSW landlords need to ensure that smoke alarms in the rented property are in working order. Certification by a licensed person must be done annually.
- Rent increases are capped to once per year.
- There are new mandatory set break lease fees for tenants who wish to break their lease early, and break lease fees for leases signed after 23 March 2020 are reduced.
- Property owners name and contact details must be included on all residential leases as a way for the tenant to contact them, even if they use an agent. A landlord cannot nominate their agent’s contact details instead of their own.
- There are new minimum standards which clarify the meaning of ‘fit for habitation’.
- All taps and toilets at the property need to be checked at the start of each tenancy so that any leaks are fixed.
- If a tenant requests a fixture, alteration, addition or renovation and it is of a ‘minor nature’ then the landlord must not unreasonably withhold consent. The tenant must pay for the fixture, alteration, addition or renovation to the property that they make, unless the landlord agrees otherwise. The new regulation lists the kinds of fixtures or alterations, additions or renovations of a ‘minor nature’ for which it would be unreasonable for a landlord to withhold consent.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding your tenancy agreement, please do not hesitate to contact us.