Submission: Review of Domestic Violence rental laws
In producing this submission, the Tenants' Union of NSW consulted closely with advocates from the statewide network of Tenants’ Advice and Advocacy Services and drew on their experiences supporting renters to use the domestic violence provisions within the RTA.
Along with Women’s Legal Services NSW and Domestic Violence NSW we also collected information via a survey open to renters who had ended their tenancy using a domestic violence termination notice (DVTN), and anyone who supported someone to do this (advocates, support workers, etc). The Domestic Violence and Renting Survey (the DV & renting survey) collected information about how the current provisions and supports in place are working, and sought to help us identify issues with the current operations of the domestic violence provisions within the Act.
The survey was conducted between 31 October 2022 and 16 November 2022. The survey received 70 responses in all, 68 respondents who had supported someone to end a tenancy, 2 respondents who had used a DVTN to end their tenancy. Overall 39% of responses (27 respondents) reflected on the experiences of renters from the Sydney metropolitan area, 59% (41 respondents) from regional NSW.
In this submission we identify a range of ongoing issues and concerns with the operation of the domestic violence provisions. We discuss issues in relation to:
- Awareness and understanding of the ability to end a tenancy because of domestic violence
- Experiences with real estate agents and landlords
- Expanding the list of competent persons
- Serving a domestic violence termination notice
- Assisting victim-survivors to remain in their home
- Recognising occupants
- Claims on rental bond
- Limits on liability for damages
- Protection against blacklisting
- Securing a new home
- Privacy and Confidentiality