New tenancy laws explained

FAIR Trading deputy commissioner Steve Griffin was in Coffs Harbour this week to hammer home the message about new residential tenancy laws.

More than 100 changes to the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords have been included in the new laws.

The Residential Tenancies Act 2010 and the Residential Tenancies Regulation 2010 both came in to force on Monday.

Mr Griffin said there had been a 12% increase in the number of people renting dwellings in regional NSW in the past two years, which was quite a substantial change.

He said this could reflect more people saving to buy a house or a greater number of people in the temporary workforce.

The acting regional manager of NSW Fair Trading, Robert Hoiles, said tenancy disputes were a big part of the work that came in the door at the Coffs Harbour Fair Trading Centre.

“People simply don’t know their rights and responsibilities,” Mr Griffin said.

“You could describe it as eyes wide shut.”

Among the changes introduced is more time for tenants to find alternative accommodation when asked to vacate and better protection for victims of domestic violence by changing locks and removing the violent person from the lease.

Landlords will welcome a faster rental arrears eviction process; a streamlined process for dealing with goods left behind, and the right to show premises to prospective buyers twice a week.

“This is the biggest change to the state’s residential tenancy laws in more than 20 years,” said the NSW Minister for Fair Trading, Virginia Judge

Ms Judge said the changes were a win-win for landlords and tenants and, as a result, there should be a reduction in disputes.

Information about the new rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants can be found at the NSW Fair Trading website and Mr Griffin said

the site included an excellent video, which took viewers through all the changes to the legislation.

There will be an information stand on the new laws on March 16 and 17 at Park Beach Plaza.

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