Residential Tenancy Forms: new domestic violence laws and form changes

Over the past 18 months, there have been a number of Legislative changes to the Residential Tenancies Act that have been or are going to be enforced in the near future. The most recent change that has been implemented is the service of notice by post period increasing from 4 days to 7 days in December 2018.

On February 28 2019, another change will come into effect in relation to Domestic Violence and Residential Tenancies. Rosy Sullivan, Principal at Australian College of Professionals, EAC’s training partner, has an excellent break down of the New Domestic Violence Tenancy Laws that covers most of what you need to know as an agency.

Due to the introduction of these changes to tenancies, Sarah Heuvel, Solicitor at JemmesonFisher, EAC’s legal partners and creators of our forms, has reviewed our tenancy agreement Terms & Conditions (EAC110) form and has amended to include relevant Domestic Violence changes, where applicable.

A note has been added after clause 16.4 which discussed liability for damage:
“Note: Under section 54 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010, the vicarious liability of a tenant for damage to residential premises caused by another person is not imposed on a tenant who is the victim of a domestic violence offence, or a co-tenant who is not a relevant domestic violence offender, if the damage occurred during the commission of a domestic violence offence (within the meaning of that Act).”

Schedule 1, clause 41, the note has been updated to include domestic violence in the permitted reasons for early termination:
“Note. Permitted reasons for early termination include destruction of residential premises, breach of the agreement by the landlord, an offer of social housing or a place in an aged care facility, and being in circumstances of domestic violence. Section 107 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 regulates the rights of the landlord and tenant under this clause.”

These amendments to the online form will be released on February 28. In relation to printed forms that do not have these changes, EAC’s understanding is that the omission of these amendments in the forms does not invalidate the lease. This means, that at this stage, you can continue to use the existing Terms & Conditions forms that do not have these amendments in them. EAC’s next print of the Terms & Conditions form will include these changes. The latest version of the form will have a date of February 2019 at the bottom of each page.

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