Rent laws to protect domestic violence victims

VICTIMS of domestic violence will receive greater protections under proposed changes to the state's residential tenancy laws.

The changes would allow tenants to terminate their residential tenancy agreement immediately by providing evidence of domestic violence through a provisional, interim or final AVO or court order.

Victims will also not be penalised for property damage or rental debt caused by a violent partner.

Landlords and agents will be prohibited from listing victims on tenancy databases holding such information.

"Currently victims of domestic violence on a fixed lease have to give 14 days' notice to their landlord, with potential liabilities, and provide them with a final AVO which can take months to obtain," Minister for Innovation Victor Dominello said.

"This is an unacceptable and often burdensome process for people living in dangerous situations.

"The new laws will provide victims with certainty that they won't be penalised in future rental applications."

The reforms follow a review of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010, and the new laws are expected to be introduced to Parliament in the first half of 2017.

Manager of Coffs Harbour's Warrina Domestic and Family Violence Specialist Services, Charlotte Young, said the proposed changes would help victims act quickly.

"In my experience, a lot of women in these situations have partners who use financial measures to control them," she said.

"These new laws will allow victims to get out of leases quickly, and make decisions to leave their partners without having to worry about the financial repercussions."

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