Changes to NSW Fair Trading fact sheets

NSW Fair Trading has amended its fact sheets for tenants and below is an overview of the changes.

Breaking a lease early
Property managers would be aware of the controversial issue relating to the interpretation of s.26 and s.100 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 as discussed  in the 14 March communication, Important tenancy issue, sent by EAC Compliance & Practice Support. If you missed it. If you are a Member and did not see it please contact Practice Support on  1300 137 161 and we can arrange to get it sent through to you.

Details of fact sheet changes
The text in the January 2011 fact sheet, Break a lease early, (see last bullet point under the sub-heading, ‘Breaking the agreement) has been changed and the words “a contract for sale had been drawn up” have been removed. The change brings the fact sheet in line with Fair Trading’s present interpretation of the legislation.

Former text:
“the landlord has put the premises on the market for sale, and you were not told before signing the lease that a contract for sale had been drawn up.”
March 2012 FTR78 text:
“the landlord has put the premises on the market for sale, and you were not told before signing the lease that the property would be sold.”

Rent increases
Last year, NSW State Parliament passed the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2011, which contained amendments to residential tenancies legislation including s.42 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 for rent increases under fixed term agreements. The change to the fact sheet brings it into line with the amended provision.

The text in the January 2011 version, under the sub-heading, ‘During the fixed term’, paragraphs 1 and 2 read as follows:

(1) “During a fixed term agreement of 2 years or less…”
(2) “During a fixed term agreement of more than 2 years…”

The text in February 2012 FTR85 reads as follows:

(1) “During a fixed term agreement of less than 2 years …”
(2) “During a fixed term agreement of 2 years or more …”

Getting your bond back
Text that appeared in the January 2011 fact sheet has been removed in the updated version, March 2012 FTR79. Although the changes are minor, if you include this fact sheet in your information folders to tenants it is recommended that you use the latest version.

EAC comments on the Draft Residential Tenancies Bill

As you may be aware, the NSW Government recently released for community consultation a draft Bill to reform tenancy laws. The Bill is not law at this time and changes may be made to it as a result of this consultation before it is introduced to Parliament early in the new year. The Office of Fair Trading advises that it is unlikely that this new legislation will commence before July 2010.
EAC identified areas of concern and proposed changes that if implemented could create difficulties for agents and create a shortage of rental accommodation by driving investors to other more easily managed investment alternatives.
Matters of concern include the following:
  • Scope of premises to which the Act will apply
  • Abolition of tenant’s contribution to lease preparation cost
  • Condition Reports
  • Rent Receipts
  • Water efficient premises and tenant usage charges
  • Alterations by tenants to premises
  • ‘No grounds’ termination notices
  • Rent arrears evictions
  • Reduction in bond for furnished premises
When Parliament passes the Bill, it will not come into effect immediately. The existing Regulations, including a revised standard lease and condition report, will need to be re-made and this will involve further public consultation. Given the expected changes to some documents, agents should carry lower levels of stock.
Agents will have ample time to implement changes when they become law and should be cautious of any specific advice given before this occurs.
It may well be several months before the exact detail on the new laws is available.
Be assured EAC will participate in the next consultation phase and keep you fully informed.