NSW Fair Trading starts a new Tenancy Dispute Service

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NSW Fair Trading has started a tenancy dispute service. The free voluntary service is said to provide a convenient alternative to having residential tenancy matters heard by the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal (CTTT).

The service starts on 1 December 2013 and NSW tenants, landlords and property managers can use the service to resolve selected residential tenancy disputes.

According to Fair Trading the service can be used to assist in resolving disputes to do with:

  • repairs and maintenance
  • non-urgent health and safety issues
  • alterations and additions
  • access to the premises including inspections
  • non-compliance with the tenancy agreement
  • water saving devices and smoke alarms
  • provisions of correct notices
  • ending a tenancy
  • breaking a lease, and
  • condition reports.

If the parties cannot agree to a resolution to a dispute, either party may lodge a claim with the CTTT.  All other residential tenancy matters not dealt with by Fair Trading will continue to be heard by the CTTT.

For more information about the free dispute resolution service, go to the Residential tenancy dispute page on the Fair Trading website or contact the Fair Trading hotline on 13 32 20.

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.