All landlords and agents of residential tenancies should be aware that the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 (NSW)will be amended effective from 28 February 2019 to enable tenants to escape circumstances of domestic violence.
Tenants will be able to end their tenancy immediately and without penalty in circumstances of domestic violence. A tenant will also not be liable for any property damage to a property caused by the domestic violence.
A tenant will now be entitled to end a residential tenancy agreement at any time by providing the landlord or their agent, with a Domestic Violence Termination Notice. The Domestic Violence Termination Notice must attach one of the following forms of evidence:
– Certificate of conviction for the domestic violence offence;
– Family law injunction;
– Provisional, interim or final Domestic Violence Order; or
– Declaration made by a medical practitioner in the form prescribed by the Residential Tenancies Regulation 2010.
Landlords and agents will also be prohibited from black-listing a tenant on a tenancy database if they end a tenancy in circumstances of domestic violence.
Whilst the amendments are a positive change from a public policy perspective and the intention of the amendments is admirable, the practical implications remain to be seen and the amendments could be abused to the detriment of landlords.