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Major amendments to the Residential Tenancy Laws

By Baiq Zefanya Louis Ceane Bella

Major changes to NSW Residential Tenancy Laws are set to take effect in just about a month away from today.

The NSW Office of Fair Trading has announced extensive changes to the Residential Tenancies Amendment (Review) Act 2018 [NSW] and the Residential Tenancies Regulation 2019 [NSW].

These changes will come into effect on 23 March 2020.

Changes include and are not limited to the following:

  • Victims of domestic violence will be able to terminate their tenancy without penalty
  • Rent increases must be limited to once per year during a periodic agreement when the fixed term has passed.
  • Repairs and replacements of hardwired smoke alarms must be carried out by an authorised electrician
  • Non-payment of water usage or utility charges may now result in tenancy termination (in addition to non-payment of rent)
  • Landlords must obtain tenants’ prior written consent to publish photographs or video recordings of premises, including property interiors for advertising purposes which may show tenants’ possessions.
  • Tenants may make minor alterations, fixtures, additions and renovations with the landlord’s consent, but the landlord cannot unreasonably withhold consent if the alteration, fixture or addition is one from a prescribed list in the 2019 Regulation.
  • Tenants have the right to break their lease if it is signed after 23 March 2020. Tenants will pay a break fee of:
  • 4 weeks rent if less than 25% of the fixed term has expired
  • 3 weeks rent if 25% or more but less than 50% of the fixed term has expired
  • 2 weeks rent if 50% or more but less than 75% of the fixed term has expired
  • 1 week’s rent if 75% or more of the fixed term has expired

For more information on the changes to the Residential Tenancies Act, visit


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