Renting law review has some wins but also a big loss

THE Residential Tenancies (Review) Act passed the NSW Parliament on 26 October 2018 and while the changes are positive, they don’t go far enough.

Wins in the Act include establishing rental housing standards for safety and liveability, allowing tenants to more easily make minor modifications and improved flexibility for tenants in cases of domestic and family violence.

The Act also changes how break-lease fees are applied when tenants break a fixed-term lease. Break fees will now be calculated on a sliding scale, based on how much of the fixed term is left, ranging from an equivalent of one week’s rent to four weeks’ rent.

The Act caps rent increases to once per year, and whilst this is a good step, it is not enough to address the issue. Landlords can still increase the rent as much as they want after twelve months.

CPSA will continue to campaign for justification of rent increases in excess of Consumer Price Index increases.

Disappointingly, no-grounds evictions have not been banned. As long as tenants can be legally evicted for no reason, the other changes of the review are undermined. For example, if a landlord wants to increase the rent more than once every twelve months or doesn’t like the tenant’s request for minor repairs or modifications, the landlord can evict the tenant.

CPSA will continue to campaign for an end to no-grounds evictions.

The rental reforms will come into effect in 2019, The VOICE will keep readers updated.