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If you need to flee – ending a lease when there is domestic violence

The Government recently passed a Bill amending the Residential Tenancies Actto provide some assistance to tenants who need to escape a domestic violence situation.

Those tenants will need to give their landlord/agent (and any co-tenant) a Domestic Violence Termination Notice and attach either a:

  • Certificate of conviction for the DV offence;
  • Family Law injunction;
  • Provisional, interim or final DV Order; or
  • Declaration made by a medical practitioner (form prescribed).

That tenant will then be able to end their tenancy immediately and without penalty. The tenant will also not be liable for any property damage caused by the domestic violence.

After the tenant gives the Notice a remaining co-tenant is able to apply to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal to end the tenancy. If the remaining co-tenant is not the perpetrator of the domestic violence they are entitled to a two-week period to only pay their share of the rent and is not required to cover the departing victim’s share. A remaining co-tenant who is the perpetrator of the domestic violence will have to pay the full cost of the remaining rent and is liable for any property damage to the premises caused by the domestic violence.

Landlords and their agents will be prohibited from black-listing a tenant on a tenancy database if the tenant ended a tenancy in circumstances of DV.

The changes come into effect from 28 February 2019.

Liability limited by a scheme approved under the Professional Standard Legislation

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