New residential tenancy laws - NSW

From 23 March 2020 new residential tenancy laws in NSW start.

The below outlines the key changes and how this effects you renting a property on Cubbi. Most of these changes also apply to existing tenancies that started prior to 23 March 2020 (but noted separately below).

As part of the changes Cubbi has updated the following forms as per the Residential Tenancies Regulation 2019.

  • Lease Agreement 
  • Condition Report
  • Tenant Information Statement

To view the all changes go to NSW Fair Trading.

Key Changes

Minimum standards to clarify 'fit for habitation'

The minimum standards of the rental property set clearer expectations for landlords and tenants. More info.

Apply to existing tenancies? Yes. These standards must be maintained throughout the tenancy (by making repairs).

New smoke alarm obligations for Landlords and Tenants

We urge you to view your obligations here.

Key info:

  • Where a smoke alarm is not in working order, landlords and agents must ensure the alarm is repaired (this includes replacing a battery) within 2 business days.
  • Landlords and agents must check smoke alarms every year to ensure they are working.
  • Tenants must notify their landlord or agent if they discover that a smoke alarm is not working (this includes when the battery needs to be changed).

Apply to existing tenancies? Yes.

Changes of a ‘minor nature’

In short owners can't unreasonably stop a tenant who wants to install fixes or make small alterations. Eg Put picture hooks up. At the end of the tenancy, a tenant is responsible for leaving the property in the same condition as at the start of the tenancy, except fair wear and tear. This includes making sure any alterations, additions or renovations are removed and also fixing any damage caused to the property. More info here.

Apply to existing tenancies? Yes.

New mandatory set break fees for fixed term agreements

Mandatory fees apply to all fixed-term agreements of 3 years or less, when a tenant ends the agreement early.

The break fees are:

  • 4 weeks rent if less than 25% of the agreement has expired
  • 3 weeks rent if 25% or more but less than 50% of the agreement has expired
  • 2 weeks rent if 50% or more but less than 75% of the agreement has expired
  • 1 week’s rent if 75% or more of the agreement has expired.

More info

Apply to existing tenancies? No.

Additional water efficiency measures

For a landlord to be able to pass on water usage charges to the tenant, the residential property must be separately metered and meet the water efficiency measures.

The changes provide additional water efficiency measures, including that all taps and toilets on the property need to be checked at the start of a tenancy so that any leaks are fixed. Taps and toilets must also be checked whenever any other water efficiency measures are installed, repaired or upgraded and any leaks fixed. More info

Landlords who intend to replace or upgrade existing toilets in their property should consider installing dual flush toilets with a minimum 3-star WELS rating to meet the water efficiency requirements by 23 March 2025.

Apply to existing tenancies? Yes

Rent increases limited to every 12 months (periodic)

Landlords can only increase the rent every 12 months on periodic agreements. Therefore a landlord is still able to set a specific rent increase during a fixed term lease every 6 months if written into the lease agreement.

Apply to existing tenancies? Yes

Access the property to take photos or videos

Landlords must obtain tenants’ prior written consent to publish photographs or video recordings of premises, including property interiors for advertising purposes which may show tenants’ possessions.

Apply to existing tenancies? Yes

If you are a landlord or tenant renting a property on Cubbi and have a question or would like to clarify something please contact us anytime.