Jenny Leong MP, NSW Greens Housing Spokesperson, will today introduce a Private Members Bill to protect renters who have been impacted by the catastrophic floods throughout NSW.
The Bill will include specific flood response measures, including putting a moratorium on evictions and capping rents to prevent landlords profiteering from the extreme housing shortage caused by the floods. The Bill also responds to the broader rental crisis in NSW - to improve the habitability, affordability and security of tenure for tenants.
Jenny Leong MP, Greens Housing spokesperson:
“This emergency should not be an opportunity for landlords to evict tenants or profiteer by jacking up rents - simply because so many homes have been destroyed the demand for rental properties has skyrocketed.
“The chronic shortage of rental properties could cause a huge increase in the cost of rent as people scramble to find somewhere to live - which is why we have introduced this Bill to limit landlords from profiteering from this catastrophic situation.
“Renters will need just as much support as property owners and small and large businesses to get back on their feet after these catastrophic floods - it’s clear that the market has failed when it comes to housing and that’s why we need to legislate to protect renters rights.
“With so many homes destroyed, damaged and mould infested, it’s important that investors do not seek to make a profit off uninhabitable housing.
Tamara Smith MP, Member for Ballina
“The scale and scope of devastation can’t be captured in single media images and the crisis our region is facing can’t be dealt with by single piecemeal fixes here and there.
“We know that the demand for rental properties was exceeding availability well before the storms hit - now the situation is even more dire. I urge the government to support our plan for rent relief.
“The extent of damage in regional towns and villages is such that there will be a deficit of available rental properties for the foreseeable future. We need to ensure that every possible rental property is available for medium to long term rentals for at least the next 12 months.
Name of Bill: Residential Tenancies Amendment (Tenant Protections and Flood Response) Bill 2022
Introduced by: Jenny Leong MP, Greens Housing Spokesperson
Date of second reading speech in Parliament: 24 March 2022
Residential Tenancies Amendment (Tenant Protections and Flood Response) Bill 2022
NSW is experiencing a well documented housing crisis which has made housing affordability a key issue for a high percentage of renters in NSW. This situation has been exacerbated in the wake of the devastating floods in NSW which have impacted thousands of people who need specific protections at this time to avoid homelessness and/or extreme financial stress.
This Bill seeks to amend the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 to provide:
- increased protections for tenants generally across NSW
- additional specific protections for tenants in NSW flood impacted areas
This Bill addresses crucial issues faced by renters in NSW in light of the housing affordability crisis and social housing deficit in the form of protection from unfair evictions and rent caps. It also addresses minimum rental standards so that renters are protected from living in conditions which are detrimental to their health by inserting mould and waterproofing ‘fit for habitation’ requirements.
Specific Measures for Flood Impacted Areas
The following protections for renters in flood impacted areas will apply for 12 months after this Bill is enacted:
- Evictions Ban: Tenants in areas which have been declared flood impacted will be protected from evictions unless the property is uninhabitable or the property ceases to be able to be used as a residence.
- Cap on Rents: Existing rents will be unable to be increased during this period. New leases and leases on new rental properties will also be limited and must be in line with the median rent for the same type of property prior to Feb 25th 2022.
Increased Tenant Protections across NSW
- Mould and Damp Free: Landlords for residential premises will be required to ensure that the premises are ‘free of mould’ and have adequate ‘waterproofing’, in addition to existing plumbing and drainage as a determination of ‘fit for habitation’.
- End No Grounds Evictions: Puts an end to unfair evictions. Tenants will only be able to be evicted under a specific set of circumstances. Guidance to the Tribunal is also inserted to prevent retaliatory evictions.
- Limiting Rent Increases: Rent increases will be restricted to a maximum of once per year and only in line with either the public sector wage increase or the CPI for Sydney, whichever is lesser.