The Residential Tenancies Regulation 2019 has now been introduced. All forms have been updated to comply with the new Regulation, both managing/leasing and tenancy. Significant changes to the requirements of landlords, agents, and tenants have been made, with a number of new responsibilities, as well as redefining responsibilities being implemented, with all EAC online forms being updated to match the regulation.
With so many changes there will be a teething period for agents, industry bodies, training, and Fair Trading so we may see some evolution over time of how these regulations will be administered and enforced by Fair Trading.
Fair Trading have provided an addendum to the Tenancy Agreement that covers all the changes in the clauses in relation to tenancies as well as the Tenant Information Statement which replaces the tenant checklist, and the Landlord Information Statement which is required to be given to landlords. These are all in line with the new regulation.
In the last week we have had noticed that an Emergency Measure Bill has been entered into NSW government to give powers to the Minister to amend the Regulation without the requirement of government sitting and voting on it, specifically in relation to COVID-19 and circumstances surrounding this, in relation to residential or retail tenancies, for up to 6 months.
The Federal government have now clarified the position. “States and territories will be moving to put a moratorium on evictions of persons as a result of financial distress if they are unable to meet their commitments,” Scott Morrison said. In summary, if a tenant is affected by COVID-19 and cannot pay the rent due to this, then they will not be able to be evicted. Only time will tell how this will be administered and what government initiatives will be put in place for Landlords, if any.
NCAT have also released updated information in relation to its filings and hearing arrangements. From NCAT:
“To minimise the need for parties to physically attend NCAT premises, the President has updated NCAT’s hearing and filing arrangements in response to the evolving Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. These changes are effective immediately.
Filing of documents
If parties are unable to lodge their application or documentation online, by post or at Service NSW, NCAT is temporarily allowing parties to lodge documents by email. A new Procedural Direction, Procedural Direction 6 – Filing of Documents, has been issued by the President in relation to this change.
For more information on what’s required by parties when lodging documents by email, refer to our guideline on Temporary arrangements to lodging documentation.
Any further changes to NCAT services will be announced on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) web page. Please encourage your members to check this page regularly.”
These are going to be difficult times for landlords, agents, and tenants, but if we can all work together we can help each other get through this. Our suggestion is to work with both your landlords and your tenants during this time, and make sure your landlords have their landlord insurance up to date. It might be time to get your landlords to speak to their insurers and confirm if their cover is equipped to cover the landlord for this scenario.