Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2019

01 September 2019

 Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2019 

 

The Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2019 has now been passed into law and there are a number of changes pertaining to insurance and some tidy ups consolidating the Healthy Homes standards into the RTA. Some of the changes include:

 

  • limiting tenants’ liability for careless damage in rental properties
  • giving the Tenancy Tribunal full jurisdiction over cases concerning premises which don’t meet minimum requirements for renting and are unlawful for residential purposes, such as garages and sleep-outs
  • giving Tenancy Services the ability to take enforcement action against landlords who rent properties which don’t meet minimum standards
  • allowing for regulations to be made to address how contamination of rental properties is

tested and managed

 

The biggest impact for you as a landlord is the insurance requirements.

 

Tenant liability for damage

 

If tenants damage a rental property as a result of careless behaviour, they will be liable for the cost of the damage up to a maximum of four weeks’ rent or the landlord’s insurance excess, whichever is lower. Tenants on income-related rents will be liable for up to four weeks’ market rent or the landlord’s insurance excess, whichever is lower.

 

Landlords will need to provide insurance information in any new tenancy agreement, including whether the property is insured and if so, what the excess amount is. The statement in the tenancy agreement must also inform the tenant that a copy of their insurance policy is available on request.

 

If Landlords don’t provide this information, or if they don’t tell tenants, in writing, within a reasonable time if this information changes, they may be liable for a financial penalty of up to $500.

In addition, tenants on existing tenancies will be able to ask their landlords for this insurance information, and this must also be provided within a reasonable time.

Finally, Insurance companies will not be able to pursue tenants on the landlord’s behalf for the cost of damage unless the damage was intentional or the result of an act or omission that constitutes an imprisonable offence.

In order to comply with these requirements, we require insurance details where the insurance covers tenant damage.  By now, you should have received a letter from your property manager setting out the insurance information we require from you.  In short, where we have insurance information on file, we have requested additional information around insurance excess, policy renewal date and confirmation of existing insurance details held; insurance company, policy type and policy number. 

 

Where we do not have policy information and/or where additional policies are held that cover tenant damage, we have requested all relevant information as set out above.  As we have an obligation to provide copies of insurance policies to tenants on request, we have requested that copies of policy documents be provided to us. 

 

There is also an obligation to notify tenants where there are changes to insurance and we will need you to notify us where such changes are made. 

 

We understand the onerous nature of these requests and also the need for future changes to also be notified to us and thank you in advance for your assistance.

 

Healthy Homes

 

In June we highlighted the new Healthy Homes standards that were being introduced from July 1, 2019 and we have ensured that all new tenancy agreements for your tenants now include the required Healthy Homes statement.

 

It is important that we have your property assessed to establish the level of compliance with the Healthy Homes standards. While compliance is not required until July 2021, our recent experience with the insulation standards highlights the need to complete this work sooner rather than later as assessment resources and suppliers capable of completing required upgrades will likely be in short supply as we enter into 2020.

 

Your Quinovic property manager will be in direct contact with you soon to discuss options around Healthy Homes assessments and the roadmap to full compliance for your property.

Stay in the loop

Sign up to our newsletters to stay in the loop with new content and news.