Attention Landlords – Important Changes to Residential Tenancy Laws in NSW

On 23 March 2020, there were several important changes to residential tenancy laws in New South Wales which Landlords need to be aware has come into effect. Here are a few of the changes that came into effect that Landlords need to be aware of when leasing their premises:

  1. Landlord are now limited in how often they can increase rent
New residential tenancy agreements entered into from 23 March onward will now be limited to rental increases once every 12 months.  However, the new provision does not apply to fixed-term leases where the period is less than 2 years in length provided the landlord provides advance notice to the tenants outlining when the rental increase will occur as well as how much the rent will increase.
  1. Stronger information disclosure requirements for Landlords
Under the new laws the list of items that a landlord must disclose to tenants before signing a residential tenancy agreement has been expanded. Among the new disclosure requirements, Landlords must notify prospective tenants before a new residential tenancy agreement if the premises are located in a building that is subject of a fire safety or building product rectification order for external combustible cladding. Where Landlords or Agents fail to comply with the new disclosure requirements then tenants are able to end their residential tenancy agreements by giving at least 14 days’ notice. Landlord and Agents should familiarise themselves with the new disclosure requirements.
  1. New smoke alarm obligations for landlords
Landlord must ensure that all smoke alarms installed in the rented property are in working order. Landlords that fail to comply with the new smoke alarm obligations will face steep penalties.
  1. Tenants permitted to make 14 ‘minor’ changes to the property
Tenants are permitted to make changes to the property by obtaining the landlord’s consent, or where the tenancy agreement authorises it. The recent changes on 23 March 2020 now permit tenants to make 14 modifications to rental properties that cannot be denied by a landlord. Landlords should familiarise themselves with the list on the NSW Department of Fair Trading website.
  1. Water Efficient Measures
New water efficiency measures for all existing and new tenancy agreements were established as part of the recent update. Landlords should familiarise themselves with the new updates if they would like to try to pass on water usage changes to tenants.

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