NSW Fair Trading has released the Statutory Review of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 in response to the 210 public submissions that suggested improvements to NSW rental laws earlier this year.
The report signals a bleak future for NSW renters.
While the report includes some positive recommendations, it doesn’t address the major concerns raised by renters and tenant advocates around security, maintenance, housing standards and rent increases.
It also fails to address many of the suggestions made tenant advocates and renters that would modernise and improve NSW rental laws.
More people are renting now than ever before, and for longer. About a third of all NSW residents now rent – and about a third of them have rented for more than a decade.
Renters across NSW are facing immense stress due to high rents and a complete lack of long-term security. Sydney has become one of the most unaffordable places to live in the world, with low vacancy rates inflaming an already highly competitive rental market.
One of the biggest challenges faced by renters in NSW is the threat of a ‘no grounds’ eviction. At the end of a lease or during an on-going agreement, a landlord can ask a tenant to move out without giving any reason. This creates great uncertainty and instability, with many renters not knowing where they will be living from year to year. It’s an even bigger challenge for families with school-aged children.
While the Statutory Review recognises that this is a major concern, the recommendations do nothing to address it.
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The recommendations also fail to address a number of other issues including:
- The right to keep pets in rental accommodation
- Incentives for sustainability features on rental properties, such as solar hot water
The fact that there is no limit to the number of times rents can be increased each year
Member for Balmain Jamie Parker said:
“Renters in Sydney and across NSW are facing immense stress due to sky-rocketing rents and a complete lack of any long-term security.
“More people are renting now than ever before, and for longer. This significant change in the renting landscape means that the government needs to modernise our rental laws.
“Many renters have no idea of where they will be living from year to year. Families with children are the largest category of households currently living in the private rental market and they face the added stress of having to move out of their local school boundaries when their lease expires.
“The NSW Government has an opportunity to improve rental laws to provide more security for renters. But instead the Liberals will continue to allow shonky landlords to use threats of eviction to shirk their responsibilities.
“The best way to provide renters with greater security is to change laws that let landlords evict tenants without a genuine reason, even when the tenants are paying their rent and living up to their responsibilities.
“We’ve heard from lots of renters that they are too scared to ask for repairs and maintenance, in case they get thrown out at the end of their lease.
“Tenants should be able to enforce their right to reasonable maintenance without fear of being evicted in response.