Home' Snap Shot Magazine : April 2011 Contents snapshot magazine : snapshot.realviewtechnologies.com : april 2011 23
WORDS JACKIE MEYERS
Changes to rental laws in January mean
more definitive new conditions for both
tenants and landlords.
Some of the key new rules that came into
force on January 31, 2011 were:
• Tenants will have more security with
termination orders by landlords extended from
14 to 30 days in the case of a fixed lease
however, a tenant can walk away from a lease
if they have been offered a position in social
housing or an aged care facility.
• A landlord is required to give 90 days notice in
a continual rolling lease while a tenant has to
give 21 days notice.
• The list of legally classified urgent repairs has
also been extended to include cooling systems
(air conditioning) under the new laws to come
into effect of January 31, 2011.
The urgent repair classification previously
applied to water services, power and gas
supply, hot water, drains, home security and
• Landlord rights to terminate for rent arrears
has been sped up by 18 days, although this
can change if a tenant pays in full the rent due
any time before vacating.
This would result in the termination process
changing. To get a tenant out would then
require proof to the tribunal that the rent
arrears had been frequent.
• The new regulations also allow for greater
certainty about landlord/agent access including
the right to twice-weekly access for rental
inspections near the end of lease and sales
inspections after 48 hours notice.
• There will be tougher rules regarding a
property's habitable state including the need
for thorough cleanliness; safe and working
lights, power and appliances; no hot water,
roof or drainage leaks; the eradication of all
mould; secure locks; fully compliant and
working smoke alarms and repairs completed
Any landlord wanting to charge for water
usage would be required to ensure water
efficiency devices were installed.
• Alterations to a property must still be
approved by the landlord, but it will now be
considered unreasonable to refuse a minor
alteration which would mean tenants could
have things such as picture hooks, child safety
devices and satellite television.
• For the first time the Act will also recognise
the concept of co-tenants, but unless a co-
tenant is known as a "bad" tenant on a
database the landlord loses the discretion to
• Under the new regulations it will be illegal to
enforce professional carpet cleaning except
where permission to have a pet is given.
• If a landlord breaches a lease the tenant can
give 14 days termination notice but if a tenant
threatens, abuses, intimidates or harasses the
landlord it is grounds for eviction.
Highlands Property's Geoff O'Reilly said that
while the new regulations were more definitive
and comprehensive he believed they had a "mild
bias" towards the tenant.
"They will definitely mean more work for the
property manager," he said.
"I can see that a lot of the new conditions
could be relevant in a city market, but I think
some conditions are a bit extreme such as a
landlord now being required to extend their
notice to 90 days in the case of a rolling lease if
they want a tenant to vacate their property."
Mr O'Reilly said more details about the
changes were available on the website
www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au with a link to
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