Important changes to NSW Residential Tenancies Legislation

Statute Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2011

NSW State Parliament recently passed the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2011. The Statute Law Revision program enables minor amendments and corrections to various Acts without the need to prepare separate amendment Bills. The amendments in Schedule 1 in part contain amendments that deal with residential tenancies legislation.

The changes in brief

1.8 Residential Tenancies Act 2010 No 42 (the Act)
Items [1] and [2] refer to sections 22 and 33 respectively and insert the words “or landlord’s agent” which extends the offence to also apply to the agent.

Item [3] refers to section 36 and creates an exemption for New South Wales Land and Housing Corporation and the Aboriginal Housing Office from the requirements relating to rent receipts.

Item [4] refers to section 42 and relates to rent increases under fixed term agreements. The provision has changed so that it now applies to an agreement for a fixed term of less than 2 years (originally applied for a term of 2 years or less). This means the rent may be increased where the term is exactly two years. Note that there is no change to section 99, which is a related provision. We understand this section will be amended at some time in the future.

In addition, the requirement to specify, in an agreement for a fixed term of less than 2 years, the amount of a proposed increase in rent is replaced with a requirement to specify the increased rent (this ensures consistency between sections 41 and 42 of the Act).

Item [5] renames section 89 and adds a new subsection (6). It clarifies that if the Tribunal makes a termination order because it is satisfied that a tenant has frequently failed to pay rent owing, in accordance with section 89(5), a warrant for possession may be issued, even if the tenant has paid all the rent owing or complied with a repayment plan.

Items [6] and [7] refer to section 102 and make it clear that an order made by the Tribunal to terminate the tenancy of a co-tenant is taken to be an order for the possession of the premises in favour of the remaining tenant or co-tenants. Accordingly, a warrant for possession may be issued in favour of the remaining tenant or co-tenants.

Item [8] refers to section 110 and it transfers to the Act a provision originally in the Residential Tenancies Regulation 2010. The provision makes it clear that a tenant under a fixed term agreement who vacates the premises before the end of a fixed term can be liable to pay rent for the balance of the fixed term.

1.9 Residential Tenancies Regulation 2010

Clause 13 Effect of early vacation of residential premises is omitted, now not needed because of item [8] above.

Click on Statute Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2011 No 27 and then select Schedule 1 for more information.

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