On the 20th of September 2018, the Residential Tenancies Amendment (Review) Bill 2018 was introduced into NSW parliament. On the 17th of October 2018 this Bill was passed by Parliament with no change to the original Bill, and is now awaiting the assent of the Governor General.
EAC understands that this would be seen by many in the industry as the government blindsiding the real estate investment/landlord sector with these reforms and this may create uncertainty and fear among investors and real estate professionals.
These amendments have been in discussion for some time now and Rosy Sullivan, Principal of the Australian College of Professionals, as part of her training at the EAC Insights 2018 tour earlier this year, discussed some of the proposed amendments, how they would impact Landlords and Property Managers, and what the amendments actually meant in real terms.
Misinformation and scaremongering surrounding the amendments
EAC would like to clarify some of the information surrounding these amendments to help reduce some of the scaremongering that is occurring in the market place and to reassure you that we continue to work with Fair Trading on the best ways to introduce any legislative changes that affect the industry. The implementation of what has passed through Parliament, is vitally important.
One of the amendments that was to be implemented originally that we, as part of the Real Estate Reference Group, were able to successfully lobby to have removed, was the removal of the No Grounds Termination of Tenancy. EAC also gave significant input into the processes surrounding the provision of evidence for victims of domestic violence. Without our input upfront and our continued work with NSW Fair Trading, the amendments that are coming would look very different from what they are now.
While the Bill has passed Parliament, the regulation implementation has not been finalised and no date has been set for the regulations to come into effect. This may take some time, similar to what we have seen with The PSBA Amendment which was passed in Parliament in March this year – yet we are advised at this stage, that the amendments won’t come in to effect until July 2019 at this stage.
The core amendments, as per the Bill are:
- The ability for tenants to make minor alterations to property
- The introduction of a new minimum standard for properties
- The ability for tenants to seek rectification orders from Fair Trading for repairs
- Restricting rent increases for periodic leases to once every twelve months
- The ability for victims of domestic violence to break a lease without incurring a penalty
EAC’s perspective on the Residential Tenancies Amendment (Review) Bill 2018
Whilst the amendment Bill that has passed contains some sensible changes for the industry, the practical implementation of this Bill and its effect on Landlords and their willingness to continue as investors in the property industry, will require careful consideration from NSW Fair Trading. There is a balance that needs to be reached whereby tenants can be provided with appropriate accommodation options and Landlords can continue as investors in the property market.
EAC is disappointed that the final Bill was placed before the Parliament without any further discussion. We feel that some of these amendments are common sense and may well reduce some of the uncertainty around certain aspects of tenancy, property management and the rights of landlords.
Keeping you informed and up to date
When there is clarity about the implementation of the amendments, in the form of regulations for the industry, EAC will be conducting interactive webinars and also providing information videos to provide information to the industry. In the meantime, we will continue to provide feedback to NSW Fair Trading about the needs of the industry. If you have specific comment about the amendments, please forward this to EAC at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will compile an industry-focused response to Fair Trading and continue our discourse with them through the Real Estate Reference Group.
We represent Members and the Industry as part of the NSW Real Estate Reference Group and on NCAT and various industry forums. We also meet with Government on a regular basis, make submissions on behalf of members and review and comment on proposed legislation to ensure your interests are protected.