Residential Tenancies Amendment
19 August 2019

On 30 July 2019, The Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2019 was passed and has some new provisions that both landlords and tenants should be aware of:

New provisions:

  • Tenants (including others for whom they are responsible) will now be liable for careless damage they cause to rental premises. The Amendment re-opens the pathway for landlords to recover such costs from tenants, albeit on a limited basis. The maximum that can be recovered from a tenant is the value of the landlord’s insurance excess (if applicable) or four weeks’ rent - whichever is the lesser. Where the cost of the damage is less than the landlord’s excess, the tenant will be liable only for the lower cost. Previously tenants were protected from liability for damage following a judgement in the Holler v Osaki case.
  • Landlords must now provide tenants with their insurance information; on request for existing tenancies and as part of the tenancy agreement for new tenancies.
  • Landlords now have the right of access (with appropriate notice) specifically to test for meth contamination. Landlords must provide results to the tenant within 7 days if testing shows meth contamination exists at unsafe levels. The minimum notice period for lease termination due to contamination is 7 days for landlords and 2 days for tenants. Landlords must not knowingly start a new lease on a contaminated property.
  • The Tenancy Tribunal will now have jurisdiction over premises occupied or intended to be occupied for residential purposes, regardless of whether such occupation is lawful or not under the Act. Previously tenants living in unlawful residential premises had been left without the protections provided to all other tenants. The Tribunal can also now order that such premises be brought up to lawful occupation standards.
  • The amendments will take effect on 27 August 2019.

Please note this information is provided as an overview only and should not be taken as legal advice. As always, we welcome any enquiries, but it may be prudent for landlords and tenants to seek guidance from their own legal adviser.

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