Landlord and tenancy laws from as far back as 1899 may be removed as part of a review by the NSW government.
NSW Fair Trading is seeking industry comment regarding the proposed removal of two pieces of legislation, the Landlord and Tenant Act 1948 and Landlord and Tenant Act 1899, which the government body describes as ‘superfluous’.
The Landlord and Tenant Act 1948 deals with war veterans who have returned home. According to NSW Fair Trading, protected tenancies legislation, as it was also known, was initially introduced by the Commonwealth as an emergency measure.
The legislation provided special rights for a small class of ‘protected’ tenants, and landlords are not responsible for maintaining and repairing ‘protected’ premises as they cannot charge market rents.
However, Fair Trading has admitted it lost track of which premises are protected, which is why the Act has lasted this long.
“While it is possible that no protected tenancies remain,” the proposal reads. “Some stakeholders have expressed concern that, if there are some, removing the legislation would put these tenants at risk of significant rent increases or eviction. The absence of accurate and reliable data on protected tenancies makes it impossible to contact and consult with affected parties.”
“It is proposed that the Act be repealed, with transitional provisions giving any remaining protected tenants a 12-month grace period to secure alternative affordable housing.”
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The second Act proposed to be repealed is the Landlord and Tenant Act 1899, which now only contains a small number of provisions, mainly dealing with eviction processes in the Local Courts.
The modern day tenancy laws (most recently updated in the Residential Tenancies Act 2010) provide for eviction through the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal (CTTT), rather than through the courts.
“The Act has no practical application or relevance in today’s society,” the proposal reads.
“The Chief Magistrate of the Local Courts has advised that cases under the Act are very rare; the Courts have details of only three matters under this Act in the last five years, each of which appear to have been a misguided application, with none proceeding to hearing and all being settled out of court.”
The decision to remove the legislation is part of the NSW government’s red tape reduction measures.