realestatebusiness logo
Subscribe to our newsletter SIGN UP

Website Notifications

Get notifications in real-time for staying up to date with content that matters to you.

rpm logo latest

Laws to allow NSW tenants to modify property

23 February 2020 Emma Ryan
Laws to allow NSW tenants to modify property

New tenancy laws come into play in NSW next month that will make it easier for tenants to make “minor” changes to a property. Here’s how it’ll affect you.

In a recent post to its website, NSW Fair Trading confirmed 23 March as the starting date that will see tenants enabled to make changes “of a minor nature” to a rental property.

“Tenants are currently allowed to install fixtures or make alterations, additions or renovations if they have the landlord’s written consent, or if the residential tenancy agreement permits it,” NSW Fair Trading said.

If the tenant’s request for a fixture or alteration, addition or renovation is of a ‘minor nature’, then the landlord must not unreasonably withhold consent.


“The tenant must pay for the fixture they install or for any alteration, renovation or addition to the property that they make, unless the landlord agrees otherwise.”

As outlined on NSW Fair Trading’s website, the new regulation lists the following kinds of alterations, which would be “unreasonable” for a landlord to withhold consent:

• securing furniture to a non-tiled wall for safety reasons

• fitting a childproof latch to an outdoor gate of a single dwelling

• inserting fly screens on windows

• installing or replacing an internal window covering (i.e. curtains)

• installing cleats or cord guides to secure blind or curtain cords

• installing child safety gates inside the property

• installing window safety devices for child safety

• installing hand-held shower heads or lever-style taps to assist elderly or disabled occupants

• installing or replacing hooks, nails or screws for hanging paintings, picture frames and other similar items

• installing a carriage service to connect a phone line or to access the internet and any associated facility or customer equipment

• planting vegetables, flowers, herbs or shrubs (shrubs that don’t grow more than two metres) in the garden if existing vegetation or plants do not need to be removed

• installing a wireless removable outdoor security camera

• applying shatter-resistant film to window or glass doors

• making modifications that don’t penetrate a surface, or permanently modify a surface, fixture or structure of the property

According to NSW Fair Trading, the new regulation also specifies that a landlord may require that certain changes be carried out by a qualified person, including installing hand-held shower heads or lever-style taps to assist elderly or disabled occupants and installing a carriage service to connect a phone line or to access the internet and any associated facility or customer equipment.

“The changes will not apply if a property is listed on the loose-fill asbestos insulation register, or if the property is a heritage item. Some restrictions and exclusions also apply to property in a strata scheme or in a residential land lease community, or to social housing properties,” NSW Fair Trading said.

“Even if the fixture, alteration, addition or renovation is included in the above list, tenants are still required to get the landlord’s written consent to the change. However, for changes that are on the list and not covered by an exemption, it is unreasonable for the landlord to refuse consent or place conditions on the consent.”

Laws to allow NSW tenants to modify property
putting picture tenant reb
lawyersweekly logo
Emma Ryan

Emma Ryan

Emma Ryan is the deputy head of editorial at Momentum Media.

Emma has worked for Momentum Media since 2015, and has since been responsible for breaking some of the biggest stories in corporate Australia, including across the legal, mortgages, real estate and wealth industries. In addition, Emma has launched several additional sub-brands and events, driven by a passion to deliver quality and timely content to audiences through multiple platforms.

Email Emma on: [email protected]com.au

Recommended by Spike Native Network

Why we’ll keep delivering for our communities in the face of COVID-19


As Australia tries to keep pace with a rapidly changing business and social landscape in the wake of COVID-19, Momentum Media is leading the way delivering essential content to our communities, writes Alex Whitlock, director of REB.

Read more
Do you have an industry update?
Ensure you never miss an issue of the Real Estate Business Bulletin. Enter your email to receive the latest real estate advice and tools to help you sell.