On the 23rd of March 2020, some of the most significant changes to the residential tenancy law that we had seen in decades, came into effect. We asked Compliance Manager, Michelle McLean, to break down the key changes in the Tenancy Law 2020 tenants and owners need to be aware of.
- Rent increases must only be issued once per year (12 months) if a lease is outside its fixed term and is a continuation of the agreement.
- Landlords must obtain the tenants’ prior written consent to publish photographs or video recordings of premises, including property interiors, for advertising purposes that may show the tenants’ possessions.
- Tenants may make minor alterations, fixtures, additions, and renovations with the landlord’s consent. The landlord cannot unreasonably withhold consent if the alteration, fixture or addition is one from a prescribed list in the 2019 Residential Tenancy Regulations.
- Repairs or replacements of hardwired smoke alarms must be carried out by an authorised electrician.
- Penalties will apply for landlords who fail to comply with annual checks to ensure smoke alarms are installed and in working order.
- A landlord may terminate for failure to pay rent, water usage charges, or charges for the supply of gas, electricity, or oil. However, please note that landlords/agents must first comply with water usage obligations such as giving the tenant 21 days to pay for such charges.
- Victims of domestic violence will be able to terminate their lease without penalty.
- For tenants who sign their lease after 23rd March 2020, have the right to break their lease under a sliding scale of penalty fees.
- Effective from 23rd March 2025, all toilets will need to be dual flush toilets with a minimum of a 3 start rating (WELS).
You can find the full details of all changes to the Residential Tenancy Law on the NSW Government Legislation website.
If you have any questions or concerns about the Residential Tenancy law, you can get in touch with Michelle here. As Chair of the Property Management Chapter for Real Estate Institute of NSW (REINSW) for the past three years, Michelle has been heavily involved in liaising with the Department of Fair Trading on these updates, working to achieve the best result for tenants and clients alike.