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Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2019: how does this affect you?

September 5th 2019

This latest amendment follows on from the Osaki practice note of 2016. That particular ruling had a major impact on being able to claim for damages caused by tenants accidental actions.

So what will the 2019 Amendment mean for you?:

  1. 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.
  2. The landlords insurance information will need to be provided in any new or renewing 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 the insurance policy is available on request.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

There are other aspects of this amendment that we don’t think will affect any of our current landlords, relating to unlawful residential premises, and meth contamination. It is good to finally have some clarification around the latter. Ruby Housing tenancy terms and conditions include the option to test for meth contamination, or other assessments as deemed appropriate, however this latest change gives a firmer backing to this where required.