How do the domestic violence amendments affect renters?
Information Sheet for renters, December 2018
The government has passed some new provisions to protect victims of domestic violence in connection with their tenancies.
These changes will be implemented into the Residential Tenancies Act 2010. The starting date has not yet been confirmed, but will probably be early 2019.
What are the changes?
- A survivor of domestic violence will be able to terminate the tenancy early with supporting evidence.
- A survivor of domestic violence will be protected from breach fees and costs for property damage in some circumstances.
- A landlord or agent will not be allowed to list information about a tenant in a tenancy database in which the tenant has terminated the agreement in circumstances of domestic violence.
What supporting evidence do you need?
The changes are very strict about what evidence needs to be given with a notice of termination to prove that there has been a domestic violence incident.
If this supporting evidence is not given, the Tribunal could decide the notice of termination is invalid, so it is very important that you make sure you have the right supporting evidence and that you include this with your notice of termination. This could be a:
- Criminal conviction for domestic violence, OR;
- Domestic violence order (interim or final) OR;
- Relevant S68B or S114 Family Law Act injunction OR;
- Declaration from a competent person. (see below)
How can I get a declaration of domestic violence?
A declaration has to come from a “competent person” and can only be given by a medical practitioner. They can make a declaration that there is a domestic violence situation. The declarations are very carefully monitored, and have strong penalties if false. There is a form that you can ask your medical practitioner to complete.
How do I give the notice?
You will find an example Notice of Termination for a Domestic Violence incident on tenants.org.au once the changes have been implemented.
Womens Legal Service NSW
Information sheet prepared by Jessica Massa, Tenants Union of NSW, December 2018.