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New Tenancy Laws – Landlord Information Notice March 2020

In addition to everyone dealing with the impact of COVID-19, the NSW Government introduced new tenancy legislation on 23 March 2020.  There are amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 & the new Residential Tenancies Regulation 2019.

The link to review all of the changes can be found at :

 NSW Tenancy Legislation

The 4 big changes that we see for our landlords are:

1.      Landlord’s email or other contact details required on new tenancy agreements

2.      Break Lease terms reduced to a sliding scale of 1-4 weeks for all agreements

3.      Landlord Information Statement acknowledgement & disclosure information

4.      Smoke alarm testing & battery changes annually & replacement of alarms older than 10 years (or less if prescribed by the manufacturer)

 

Landlord’s contact details required on all new tenancy agreements:

Landlords are now required to nominate a ‘contact detail’ on each new tenancy agreement.  This can be either a phone number or email address.  Our recommendation to landlords is to insist that all communication remains directly with us as your agent.  Owners can forward any emails straight through to their agent to ensure a precedent isn’t set for
on-going communication.

 

Break Lease terms reduced to a sliding scale of 1-4 weeks for all agreements:

There is a new compulsory Break fee provision for all tenancy agreements.  The tenant is now only required to pay a sliding scale of 1-4 weeks rent when they break the lease, depending on how much of the lease is remaining.  There has also been a new interim provision legislated for COVID-19 impacted tenants which caps their break fee to only 2 weeks.

The prescribed break fees for all new agreements are:

  • 4 weeks rent if less than 25 % of the agreement has expired
  • 3 weeks rent if 25 % or more but less than 50 % of the agreement has expired
  • 2 weeks rent if 50 % or more but less than 75 % of the agreement has expired
  • 1 week’s rent if 75 % or more of the agreement has expired.

For example:

If seven months of a 12-month tenancy agreement (or 58 per cent) has expired, a tenant would need to pay a fee equal to two weeks rent to the landlord to end the agreement early.

 

Landlord Information Statements must be acknowledged by all landlords:

The agent is able to sign tenancy agreements & the acknowledgement statement on behalf of landlords but the agent must first obtain an acknowledgement that their landlord has read & understood the new statement.  The link to the statement can be found at:

Landlord Information Statement

 

Smoke alarm testing + battery changes annually & the replacement of old alarms:

Landlords that have existing annual testing carried out by SATS (Smoke Alarm Testing Services) will not have to make any changes.  All other landlords will need to decide who they want to appoint to carry out their annual smoke alarm maintenance.