Updated Tenancy Regulations starting from 23rd March, 2020

Updated Tenancy Regulations starting from 23rd March, 2020

9 Mar 2020

The updated Tenancy regulations come into effect 23rd March 2020 and pretty much every agent out there is working out how to set up the systems necessary to ensure they comply. In the meantime, this is a summary of the main changes:

Smoke Alarms

We have now moved back to the early days of smoke alarms where landlords and their agents have to check the batteries of smoke alarms each year unless the batteries are the non-replaceable kind.

It is pretty clear if you have a cheap smoke alarm then you are going to have an ongoing annual expense of having them checked and batteries replaced. Many agents use fire inspection companies to check the smoke detectors, but at $100 a year, it is an expense that we think can be avoided.

Breaking Lease fees

This change makes fixed-term leases far more advantageous to the tenant than for the owners. If a tenant decides to break the lease and move out early, they will have to pay 4-weeks rent as a penalty if the lease still has more than ¾ to run. It is 3-weeks when the lease has more than ½ its time to run, 2-weeks if it has more than a quarter of its time to run and only 1-week if it is in its last quarter. A tenant breaking lease in the last half of the lease has to pay less rent to you than if the lease was up and they had to give 3-weeks’ notice. This change is ridiculous.

Disclosure Statement

This change is fairly sweeping and probably means we will need a statement from an owner each time we lease a property. The disclosure requires us to advise tenants, of special works occurring at the strata, of any changes to by-laws and whether there is a strata committee set up to look at selling the block off to a developer. If we don’t advise the tenant, then the Tribunal will be able to award compensation to the tenant for moving costs, and that can be expensive.

We will be sending a more detailed description to our clients on how these changes will affect your tenancy and how we plan to protect you.