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Changes to Tasmanian residential tenancy law

Tasmanian residential tenancy laws have been recently reformed, with changes operational from the end of 2014.

The raft of changes to the Residential Tenancy Act include:-

Limits on rent increases

Landlords are limited to increasing the rent once each year.  Previously, the rent could be increased every six months.

Increase of notice period requiring the tenant to vacate the property

The relevant notice periods that apply when issuing the tenant with a Notice to Vacate the property, have been increased.  The notice periods vary depending on the reason that the notice to vacate is being given by the landlord.

Fixed term agreement will become an agreement with no fixed term on expiry date

Unless the landlord has given at least 42 days’ notice to terminate a tenancy agreement, or the agreement has not been previously extended or renewed, on the expiration of a tenancy agreement a new agreement will automatically come into effect.  The new agreement will be for no fixed period, and will be on the same terms and conditions as the agreement that expired:  in effect, the tenancy will continue on the same terms and conditions until validly terminated in accordance with the Act.

Landlord’s duty to repair or replace various items

If the Landlord receives a notice from the tenant to repair a faulty stove top (provided this is not the fault of the tenant), the landlord must attend to the repair within 14 days of receiving the notice.

It is the duty of the Landlord to replace or repair tap washers as well as light globes or light tubes that are “reasonably inaccessible”.  The tenant must still replace “accessible” light globes and light tubes.

Residential Tenancy Commissioner will replace Magistrates Court as avenue for tenancy disputes

Tenancy disputes will be decided by the Residential Tenancy Commissioner, instead of the Magistrates Court.

Tenancies to be advertised for a fixed price

A fixed price must be advertised in connection with all rentals.  Landlords are prohibited from inviting prospective tenants to bid higher than the advertised fixed price.

When will the changes take effect?

The changes will apply to all new agreements made after 1 October, 2014.

The majority of the changes will not apply to existing agreements for 12 months, with some exceptions, which will take effect immediately, including:-

  • rentals to be offered for a fixed price, and landlord must not invite bidding;
  • provision allowing tenants to change locks and security devices without the prior consent from landlord, where a Family Violence Order is in place to protect the tenant; and
  • provision for the tenancy to cease on the death of the tenant.

For more information go to Consumer Affairs Tasmania

Accessing your updated documents

Our Tasmanian Residential Tenancy Agreements and Kits have been updated to incorporate the recent changes.  If you have purchased a Kit in the past, you can access the updated Agreements by logging into your Members Area.  Otherwise, you can purchase the updated Kits here.