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Tenant termination laws still unclear

11 December 2014 Staff Reporter

An industry body is calling on the government to clarify recent changes to the law concerning a tenant’s right to terminate an agreement early without compensation to the landlord.

An industry body is calling on the government to clarify recent changes to the law concerning a tenant’s right to terminate an agreement early without compensation to the landlord.

The Real Estate Institute of NSW (REINSW) said changes made earlier this year to section 100(1)(c) of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 (NSW) were meant to clarify the circumstances under which a tenant can terminate a fixed-term agreement early without compensating the landlord.

“The intent of the amendment was to reduce the confusion and improve clarity around how the section operates, however, that never came to fruition,” said an REINSW spokesperson. 

“The REINSW Helpline has received queries about the amended section and members have voiced their concerns regarding unclear processes.

“Subsequent decisions by NCAT and commentators who have provided feedback on the section don’t seem to be of one voice. We heard of a case that went before NCAT shortly after the section was amended where the tribunal member was not aware of the changes.

“It seems that no-one is able to provide a clear understanding of the intention, interpretation and effect of the changes,” he added.

REINSW CEO Tim McKibbin said he has raised the issue with NSW Fair Trading, who are going to give consideration to providing a regulatory intent statement ... to provide much-needed information directly from the source”.

“In the past, REINSW has lobbied around the previous drafting of the section, and will continue to push for a clear outcome,” said Mr McKibbin.

Tenant termination laws still unclear
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