Progress of theResidential Tenancies Amendment Bill
The Social Services Select Committee has considered the Bill and reported back to the House with its recommendations. The Committee received 706 written submissions and heard 57 oral submissions. Having considered the submissions the key changes to the Bill proposed by the Select Committee are:
- That there be higher maximum payments for two unlawful acts in the Act: where a landlord fails to comply with their responsibilities regarding smoke alarm and insulation requirements (increased from $3,000 to $4,000); and where a landlord issues retaliatory notice to tenants who ask landlords to comply with their legal obligations (increased from $2,000 to $4,000).
- That landlords be given a specific power of entry to install smoke alarms and insulation in the same way that landlords can have the power of entry to do repairs and maintenance.
- That the Bill be amended to allow for regulations about any associated material related to insulation in the ceilings, floors, or walls, which could help improve the performance of insulation.
- That for buildings where the insulation details are unknown and the landlord has made all reasonable efforts to obtain the required information, they are able to make a statement to this effect.
- That although landlords should install smoke alarms and replace them when they break, tenants will be responsible for replacing batteries.
- That proceedings before the Tenancy Tribunal can be commenced online, and to enable records to be stored and retrieved electronically.
- Further information about the contents of the Bill in its current form is contained in the Questions and Answers document in the list below.
The Bill is awaiting its second reading in Parliament. Accompanying the Bill will be an information and education campaign that will promote the new smoke alarm and insulation requirements, as well as provide information about other existing requirements, remedies available to tenants, and ways to prevent dampness and mould.