Provisions allowing tenants experiencing domestic and family violence to end their tenancies quickly were repealed from the COVID-19 regulations as similar arrangements continue under the amended Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008, which commenced on 20 October 2021.
While the new tenancy legislation has been made law, it’s important to remember that not all changes commence immediately. Learn more about the implementation times of other changes including:
- a framework for parties to negotiate renting with pets
- changes to approved reasons to end a tenancy
- minimum housing standards.
Domestic and family violence protections – effective 20 October 2021
Tenants who believe they can no longer safely occupy a rental property due to experiencing domestic and family violence can vacate immediately, but must provide 7 days notice and pay rent until the end of the 7 day notice period.
A tenant wanting to vacate the rental property due to experiencing domestic and family violence:
- must complete and give to the property owner/manager a Notice ending tenancy/residency interest (domestic and family violence) (Form 20, R20) supported by relevant evidence (such as a protection order or a Domestic and family violence report)
- is not responsible for costs relating to the ending of a tenancy/rooming accommodation agreement or interest, goods left behind in the rental premises or reletting costs
- is not required to repair or compensate the property manager or owner for damage to the premises or inclusions caused by an act of domestic and family violence experienced by a tenant
- is still responsible for other costs associated with breaching terms of an agreement (for example, rent arrears)
- can request their bond contribution be refunded by completing the paper Bond refund for persons experiencing domestic and family violence (Form 4a) – this is not available via RTA Web Services. This form can also be completed by a property owner/manager to request a refund of the vacating tenant’s bond contribution. Only the vacating tenant and their property manager/owner will be notified and be required to agree on this bond refund. No other bond contributors will be notified or be required to agree.
If there is more than one tenant for the agreement, the agreement continues for the other tenants on the same terms. The property manager/owner is required to give the remaining tenants a Continuing interest notice strictly between 7 and 14 days after the vacating tenant's interest in the agreement ends. The Continuing interest notice can include a request for the remaining tenants to top up the bond.
See the Domestic and family violence in a rental property webpage for more information.
COVID-19 arrangements no longer in place from 1 May 2022
Tenants, property owners and managers wanting to end an agreement need to comply with the rules for ending a tenancy agreement under the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 (the Act) and the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation (COVID-19 Emergency Response) Regulation 2020.
Tenants who were significantly financially impacted by COVID-19 and needed to end their agreement early were able to do so under the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation (COVID-19 Emergency Response) Regulation 2020 which expired on 30 April 2022. Eligible tenants were only liable for a maximum break lease penalty of one week’s rent (after giving the minimum notice period – generally two weeks).
Short term tenancy agreement for movable dwelling premises (in caravan parks) which ended from 30 September 2021 were also eligible for extension until 30 April 2022 if both parties agreed.
COVID-19 arrangements no longer in place from 30 September 2020
The six-month eviction moratorium for COVID-19 rent arrears ceased to apply from 1 October 2020. This included changes to a number of temporary approved reasons for ending a tenancy agreement.
Notices issued on these specified grounds on or before 29 September 2020 are still effective.
From 30 September 2020, when issuing a Notice to Leave (Form 12) or a Notice of Intention to leave (Form 13), property managers, property owners and tenants must state the grounds for the notice or that the notice is given without ground and provide the relevant minimum notice periods as outlined in the Act.
Note: Changes to approved reasons to end a tenancy as part of the rental law reforms will commence on 1 October 2022. Once implemented, these changes will remove the option to end a tenancy without grounds and instead provide tenants, property owners and property managers with a wider range of specific grounds on which to end a tenancy within prescribed notice periods.