LEGISLATION CHANGES

There have been some recent changes to the legislation that governs residential tenancies and we have outlined some of the more impactful changes here.

Termination before end of fixed term—fee for breaking lease (1) If the tenant ends a fixed term agreement before the end of the fixed term (other than for a reason permitted by the Residential Tenancies Act or the agreement), the tenant must pay a fee (a break fee) of the following amount: (a) if the fixed term is 3 years or less— (i) if less than half of the fixed term has expired— 6 weeks rent; or (ii) in any other case—4 weeks rent; (b) if the fixed term is more than 3 years—the amount agreed between the lessor and tenant.

Posting Clause. if the lessor is posted to Canberra in the course of the lessor’s employment—by the lessor giving the tenant at least 8 weeks written notice; or (b) if the tenant is posted away from Canberra in the course of the tenant’s employment—by the tenant giving the lessor at least 8 weeks written notice.

Energy Efficiency Rating. if there is an existing energy efficiency rating of the habitable part of the premises—a statement of the energy efficiency rating; or (ii) if there is no existing energy efficiency rating statement for the habitable part of the premises—a statement to that effect.

Smoke alarms A lessor must not enter into a residential tenancy agreement with a tenant in relation to premises unless— (a) smoke alarms are installed at the premises; and (b) the installation of the smoke alarms complies with the building code, volume 2, part 3.7.2. This section applies in relation to an existing residential tenancy agreement if— (a) no smoke alarms are installed at the premises; or (b) smoke alarms are installed at the premises but the installation does not comply with the building code, volume 2, part 3.7.2. (2) Not later than 12 months after the commencement day, the lessor must install smoke alarms at the premises.

There were also many changes to the Family Violence Act 2016 and the Uncollected Goods Act 1996.

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