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Sweeping reforms set for NSW tenants after numerous complaints

By Tim Neary
21 September 2018 | 9 minute read
Property woodhouse850x400 may2017

Tenants in NSW will be able to make their houses feel like homes under comprehensive reforms being introduced to State Parliament, at a time when almost a third of the NSW population is renting.

Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean said that the number of renters was growing each year and these reforms would give them a huge boost.

“Under these common-sense changes, renting families will be able to make minor alternations, such as installing a picture hook to hang their family photos, and will benefit from a new set of minimum standards to ensure properties are in a liveable condition,” Mr Kean said.

The minimum standards include basic access to electricity and gas, structurally sound buildings, adequate natural or artificial lighting, ventilation and adequate outlets for lighting, heating and appliances.

In a media release, the NSW government said that NSW Fair Trading received around 1,200 complaints in 2017–18 relating to maintenance and repair issues.

It said that this amounted to 40 per cent of all tenancy complaints in that period.

“Under these reforms, tenants who need repairs done can get rectification orders from Fair Trading, saving them from expensive and time-consuming litigation,” Mr Kean said.

The media release also said that the reforms also give security to tenants by restricting rent increases for periodic leases to once every 12 months, and include set fees for breaking a fixed-term lease.

Mr Kean also said that victims of domestic violence would be able to immediately break a lease with no penalty if they have a provisional AVO or a declaration from a medical professional.

“Victims are protected from being listed on a tenancy database by agents or landlords where a debt or property damage arose because of a violent partner,” the minister said.

More to follow.

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