REAL estate agents have reacted to new tenancy laws passed last week which will prevent landlords from more than one rent hike in the space of 12 months.
The NSW government says the Residential Tenancies Amendment (Review) Bill 2018 is designed to protect the interests of tenants and landlords.
Ray White Orange principal, Libby Seaman, said the new amendments provide clarity on some grey areas.
There is absolutely no need for the government to intervene in a free market by saying that the owner could only increase the rent once in every 12 months.Bob Berry
“I don't believe any party either landlords or tenants would be severely disadvantaged with the passing of new amendments,” Ms Seaman said.
“But it would be an advantage for tenants in terms of knowing that they are going to incur an increase only once in 12 months.
“Not very often landlords increase rent more than once in a 12-month period. I think this (amendment) is giving some clarity and definition to protect everybody.”
Another Central West real estate agent, however, was concerned about the law that says landlords can only increase rents once every 12 months.
Bob Berry, the Dubbo-based veteran real estate agent, said the change was not necessary.
“There is absolutely no need for the government to intervene in a free market by saying that the owner could only increase the rent once in every 12 months,” he said.
“The minister [Better Regulation Minister Matt Kean] doesn’t know how the entire NSW market works. Rates in Sydney are different from those in Dubbo, Orange and Bathurst.
“As licensed real estate agents, we act in the interests of our clients, the owner. The owners are entitled to market rents.”
He said the move may result in property investors leaving the market as now rents are pegged to annual increases.
According to the state government, the amendments will allow victims of domestic violence to terminate their tenancies immediately and without penalty, a move welcomed by Ms Seaman
The new amendment also prohibits landlords and their agents from listing a victim of domestic violence on the tenancy database.
Other areas Ms Seaman said needed reform included allowing a tenant to hang pictures without prior consent, and tenants’ rights to keep a pet on a rented property.
There will be seven requirements set by the government before a property is put up for rent:
- Structurally sound
- Adequate natural or artificial lighting in each room, except storage rooms or garages
- Adequate ventilation
- Supplied with electricity or gas and with adequate electricity or gas outlets for lighting, heating and appliances
- Adequate plumbing and drainage
- Connected to a water supply service or infrastructure for the supply of hot and cold water for drinking, washing and cleaning
- Contains bathroom facilities, including toilet and washing facilities, which allows user privacy
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