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RTA Amendment Act takes effect Feb 2021

RTA Amendment Act takes effect Feb 2021 National Propertyscouts

Hello 2021 what surprises do you have in store for us?

Well, it shouldn’t come as any surprise because we’ve certainly been banging on for long enough about it but on the 11th of Feb 2021 phase two of the Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2020 takes effect. Phase one, which changed the law allowing landlords to increase rent every 180 days to once a year, took effect back on the 12th of August last year. Phase two includes a number of very important changes so here they are summarised for you.

  • Landlords can no longer give no cause 90 days’ notice to end a periodic tenancy. Periodic tenancies can only be ended by the landlord for one of the following reasons:
    • The landlord issued a tenant three notices for separate anti-social acts in a 90-day period.
    • The landlord gave notice that a tenant was at least five working days late with their rent payment on three separate occasions within a 90-day period.
    • The landlord will suffer greater hardship than the tenant if the tenancy continues.
    • Existing provisions relating to rent arrears, damage, assault and breaches still apply.
    • 14 days notice can be given to the tenant where they have assaulted the landlord or their family and the police have laid charges. 63 days notice can be given where the owner or their family requires the property to live in and 90 days notice where the owner intends to sell the property or the property has been sold and with a requirement by the owner for vacant possession.
  • Fixed term tenancies can be terminated with 14 days notice where the tenant physically assaulted the landlord or their family and the police have laid a charge.
  • Fixed term tenancies convert to periodic tenancies unless the tenant gives notice to end the tenancy at least 28 days before the end of the tenancy or both parties agree to end or renew the tenancy.
  • Tenants who experience family violence can end or withdraw from a tenancy by giving two days notice. The notice has to be accompanied by evidence of the family violence. What constitutes the evidence is yet to be formulated. Any remaining tenants in the tenancy may receive a rent reduction.
  • Properties advertised for rent must now include the rental price. This includes street signs advertising the property.
  • Landlords must agree to reasonable requests by a tenant to make minor changes to the property. Landlords can impose reasonable conditions around how any minor change is carried out and tenants must remove any minor changes and remediate the property when the tenancy ends.
  • Landlords can not deny a tenants request to install fibre broadband if the installation can be done at no cost to the landlord and the installation will not compromise the building integrity in any way.
  • Landlords can not seek rental bids on a property. (This was never a biggie in any case and certainly wasn’t common practice).
  • The Tenancy Tribunal can on the application of any party, or on its own initiative order that identifying details be suppressed. Where a party has been wholly successful in their case identifying details can be removed from published orders.
  • All lease assignment requests MUST be considered by landlords and not unreasonably declined. Landlords must provide tenants with a breakdown of all costs associated with assigning, subletting, or ending a tenancy. This is in order to allow the tenants to determine if the costs are reasonable.
  • Landlords have an obligation to provide tenants with records relation to the properties compliance with the Healthy Homes Standards (HHS) and landlords now have to retain documentation in relation to the HHS in order to provide them to the Regulator (MBIE) if required.
  • A number of new landlord infringement offences have been created. Penalties for existing infringements have been increased by 50 – 80%.
  • The tenancy Tribunal can now make awards up to $100,000!

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