Submission: Long Fixed-Term Residential Tenancy Agreements
The Tenants' Union of NSW is pleased to provide this submission on long fixed-term tenancy agreements to Fair Trading NSW, at their invitation.
Improved security of tenure for residential tenants is a primary objective for the Tenants’ Union of NSW. Limiting the circumstances in which landlords can end tenancies, rather than allowing them to initiate terminations without grounds, is the most effective way to deliver this. Tenants should have confidence that while their home remains available for rent, and as long as they continue to meet their obligations under the residential tenancy agreement, they should not be asked to relocate without a reason.
Following the statutory review of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 in 2016, Fair Trading NSW reported that security of tenure was a major theme in submissions from tenants and tenants’ advocates. However, the review recommended no change should be made to the Act’s provisions allowing landlords to terminate tenancies without grounds. Instead, it suggested “there are likely to be some tenants and landlords who are interested in long fixed term leases, and it may be possible for the Act to provide some incentives to make these more attractive”.
Reform to encourage long fixed-term residential tenancy agreements holds limited potential to improve security of tenure and stability for tenants. TUNSW’s concerns about long fixed-term tenancies have been most recently set out in our submission to the statutory review of the Act. To summarise these concerns: it is not the current regulatory environment provided by the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 that prevents or discourages long fixed-term tenancy agreements, but the structure and composition of the NSW private rental market itself.