Important changes to rental laws – 23 March 2020
Published on 26/03/2020
Important changes to tenancy law have come into effect as of 23 March 2020. These changes affect anyone renting a property in NSW (including people who rent both home and site in residential land lease communities).
We have been working hard to update our factsheets so that you can be sure that this site is accurate and you're reading the most up-to-date information. All 28 of our key factsheets have been thoroughly reviewed, with substantial changes made to over half of them. We will continue to make updates as needed to other resources over the coming weeks. If you have any comments or questions about this, please give us feedback here.
Some highlights from the changes
All rental properties will now have to meet seven minimum standards before they can be considered 'habitable'. The standards include that the property is structurally sound, has natural and artificial light, adequate ventilation and plumbing and drainage. See Factsheet 06: Repairs and maintenance
If you need to leave a fixed-term tenancy early, the 'break fee' penalties you will pay are generally reduced and taper-off the further through your contract you are. These break fees will only apply to tenancy agreements entered into after the changes come in. See Factsheet 16: Ending fixed-term tenancy early
Now landlords can’t unreasonably refuse consent to tenants who want to make minor alterations, repairs or renovations to the rental property. Minor alterations here are fly-screens on windows, child safety features including child gates or and fixing furniture to a wall, or hand-held shower heads or lever-style taps to help elderly or tenants with a disability. Landlords and property managers will also have to make sure that smoke alarms in the property work, or face big penalties. See Factsheet 20: Smoke alarms
Landlords will have more information they need to disclose before you enter into an agreement, especially in strata tenancies, where they must provide you with a copy of the by-laws before you enter into the agreement and also inform you if a strata renewal committee has been established. See Factsheet 13: Strata scheme tenants.