The Government has released a discussion paper as a prelude to what will be a comprehensive reform of the residential tenancy market. The changes to be "discussed" come on top of a number of changes either in place or on the way.
The new proposals up for discussion include:
Where these situations don't apply a landlord would need to obtain a Termination Order from the Tenancy Tribunal, which can only be granted in certain situations specified in the Act - for example, where the rent is at least 21 days in arrears. This will make termination more difficult.
Extending the notice period from 42 days to 90 days may also be problematic where a property is sold. This will complicate a sale and may make homebuyers less inclined to buy a rental.
Having longer fixed term tenancies will be welcomed by some landlords and tenants, but specifying a minimum term of two years will not. Market evidence suggests that tenants generally do not like leases longer than 12 months, mostly because their personal circumstances may change.
Extending the rental increase period from 6 to 12 months may work against a tenant as landlords will be more likely to schedule reviews annually and link the increases to metrics like inflation, rates rises, property value, and so on.
On the positive side, the discussion document does not propose a warrant of fitness for rental properties. It is being considered for boarding houses.
The reforms are unlikely to become law before mid-2020.
Comment about the proposed reforms may be made online at research.net/r/rta-reform-survey. Submissions must be in by 5pm, 21 October 2018.
Frank Newman is an independent property analyst and commentator. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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