Greg Vincent

REINSW forces changes to NSW Government’s Residential Tenancies Bill

In a Press Release issued on 4 June 2010 it would appear that the NSW government may have finally decided to listen to the industries concerns over some of the proposed new changes to the NSW Government’s Residential Tenancies Bill.

It was announced that, REINSW has forced the NSW government to make considerable changes to its draft Residential Tenancies Bill introduced into Parliament.

But despite the changes, REINSW is calling on the Minister to delay passage of the Bill until all stakeholders have had to the opportunity to review the new legislation.

“REINSW is pleased that the government has listened to our concerns and made key changes,” said REINSW President Wayne Stewart.

“But again the government is trying to rush this legislation through without sufficient time for proper consultation.

“We call on the Minister to take the time to get this right and not push ahead with unreasonable haste.

“Key changes which REINSW pressured the government to make include:

  • Abandoning a proposal to give tenants the right to break a fixed term tenancy agreement during the fixed term in return for payment of a ‘break fee’
  • Scrapping the compulsory proposal to cap a landlord’s damages (including loss of rent) if a tenant abandoned rented premises, and maintaining the current obligation on a landlord to mitigate their loss in such circumstances
  • Providing greater certainty for landlords when terminating periodic tenancies
  • Further limiting the government’s proposals to allow tenants to make ‘minor’ changes to the landlord’s property (e.g. painting is not a ‘minor’ change) or to sub-let the property without the landlord’s consent (which are both proposals the Institute still opposes in principle and will continue to lobby against)

“Unfortunately REINSW has not been provided with a complete overview of all changes to the Bill which means it has been impossible to review all amendments prior to the Minister introducing the legislation.

“REINSW understands that the Minister will try to pass the Bill through parliament by the end of the current parliamentary session which will limit the ability of all stakeholders to consider the new changes and their impact on the NSW property market.

“REINSW calls on the Minister to delay debate on the 2010 Bill until the next parliamentary session in late 2010 to allow all stakeholders a reasonable opportunity to examine the Bill in its latest, amended, form.

“It is inevitable that some of the amendments made may have unintended consequences and the Institute has already identified a number of issues which appear to be the result of unintended drafting errors. REINSW looks forward to working with the Minister to correct any such errors.

“REINSW previously lodged a comprehensive submission with respect to the 2009 Bill and it is very pleasing to see that concerns and suggestions raised by the Institute have been incorporated into the amended 2010 Bill,” said Mr Stewart.

Hopefully some common sense will prevail. If the NSW Government don’t pay attention to the stakeholders  within this issue then we will see lots more investors heading interstate into the future which will place even more pressure on our current rental crisis.

If they get this wrong, this important issue has the potential to put the last nail in the coffin for the current NSW Labour Government and could fuel an even greater landslide in the opinion polls. 

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