Residential Tenancies Amendment (Tenant Protections and Flood Response) Bill 2022

Briefing Note

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

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