On 13 June 2012, the NSW Parliament passed a series of amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act 2010. The amendments will commence operation on 6 July 2012. Following is an outline of the main amendments.
Termination notices for non-payment of rent.
Section 88(3) requires that a non-payment termination notice must inform the tenant that the tenant is not required to vacate the residential premises if the tenant pays all the rent owing or enters into, and fully complies with, a repayment plan agreement with the landlord.
This section has been amended so that the tenant must now also be informed that, irrespective of the fact that they have paid all rent owing or have entered into a repayment plan agreement, they will still be required to vacate the premises where the CTTT has made a termination order on the basis that the tenant has frequently failed to pay rent on time.
Section 88(3) now reads:
“A non-payment termination notice must inform the tenant that the tenant is not required to vacate the residential premises if the tenant pays all the rent owing or enters into, and fully complies with, a repayment plan agreed with the landlord unless the Tribunal makes a termination order on the basis that the tenant has frequently failed to pay rent on time.”
This new wording must be included in all non-payment termination notices served after 6 July 2012.
REINSW is urgently amending the Termination Notice of Residential Tenancy Agreement (FM00404) to reflect the amendment to s 88(3). Members should check that all non-payment termination notices issued on or after 6 July 2012 include the new mandatory information.
Under section 107(2), landlords have an obligation to mitigate their loss following abandonment of the premises by the tenant. This requirement will no longer apply in the case of a fixed-term tenancy that provides for payment of a break fee.
Further, s 107(3) now states that where a tenancy agreement provides for a break fee, the compensation payable by a tenant is the amount of the break fee. Previously, the section stated that the compensation was “limited to” the amount of the break fee. This amendment clarifies some ambiguity in the wording of the section.
Payment of bonds
Section 159(2) has been amended so that a landlord, or a landlord’s agent, is now able to receive a rental bond before the tenant signs the residential tenancy agreement.
However, it is important to note that it remains an offence to require a tenant to pay a bond before they sign a residential tenancy agreement.
Disputes about listings in tenancy databases
Currently, under s 217, where personal information about a person is listed in a residential tenancy database, that person can apply to the CTTT for an order to remove that existing listing. The section has now been amended to apply to proposed listings as well.
In addition, the Tribunal will now be able to make orders for the removal of listings that remain on a residential tenancy database for longer than the limitation periods set out in s 218.
Service of notices
Section 223(1)(a)(i) has been amended so that personal service on a person can now be effected at any place. Previously, personal service had to be done at the person’s residential or business address.
If you have questions about any of these changes, please contact on the REINSW Member Helpline by calling (02) 9264 2343 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org