Residential Tenancies Act – The Draft Regulation Consultation has begun

Nicole Horne and REI NSW Chapters
Residential Tenancies Act – The Draft Regulation Consultation has begun

In October 2018 the NSW Parliament passed a series of amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act 2010, which are designed to increase protection and certainty for renters, while ensuring that landlords can protect their investment and effectively manage their properties.

These changes however do not come into force until the Government, in consultation with affected stakeholders and the community develop and finalise the Residential Tenancies Regulations. These regulations are what provides the administrative detail to support the operation of the Act.

The Draft Residential Tenancies Regulation 2019 is now open for public consultation and the closing date for public and industry submissions is Friday, 2 August 2019.

The Government’s Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) which accompanied the Draft Regulation poses 41 questions, one of those being around the commencement date and its appropriateness. NSW Fair Trading has commented that the proposed start date of Monday, 2 December 2019 is subject to stakeholder consultation through the Regulation Impact Statement process. The Domestic Violence reforms have already commenced from Thursday, 28 February 2019.

What changes are proposed for the Regulation?

The proposed Regulation has been prepared to support the changes to the Act, implement some of the remaining recommendations of the statutory review and modernise the current Regulation.

Some of the changes to the Regulation include:

  • Expanding the list of material facts that landlords or their agents must not knowingly conceal from a prospective tenant to include drug crimes.
  • Prescribing the manner and the period for landlords to carry out repairs to a smoke alarm, and prescribing the conditions under which a tenant may replace a battery in a smoke alarm
  • Establishing a list of minor alterations that a tenant can carry out, where it would be unreasonable for a landlord to withhold consent, and specifying which alterations may be carried out by a qualified person
  • Providing mandatory terms that cannot be modified or excluded from fixed-term tenancy agreements of 20 years or more
  • Increasing the limit on the monetary jurisdiction of the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal
  • Providing an option for a 5-year fixed term in the standard form of agreement to encourage landlords and tenants to consider longer term leases
  • Updating the standard form of residential tenancy agreement and condition report
  • Expanding the list of offences under the Act for which penalty notices may be issued and increasing the penalty amount that may be imposed
  • Simplifying clauses to make it easier to read and to improve consistency.

The Residential Management Team at MMJ Wollongong are keeping a close eye on updates provided by the Real Estate Institute of NSW along with the Department of Fair Trading and focusing on how best to implement these changes when they become necessary and keeping all our clients updated throughout the process.