Changes to tenancy laws will be coming into effect by August 11, 2021.  One significant change is that victims of family violence can give landlords two days’ notice (with evidence) to withdraw from a tenancy.

This law could benefit victims of family violence, as they could reasonably end a tenancy at a property where they are experiencing violence.

However, evidence of abuse is often unseen and difficult to explain so finding the evidence to cancel a tenancy could be difficult.  It also brings landlords into the centre of family violence matters and could force landlords to “take sides”. It may also draw landlords into giving evidence in Family Court proceedings or draw in evidence from an otherwise private family violence proceeding to disputes in the Tenancy Tribunal.

Another part of this change is that the tenants who remain after a tenancy for a victim is withdrawn would pay reduced rent for two weeks.  This could have an effect for rewarding the behaviour of abusers to the detriment of the landlords.

It may also, in a more extreme circumstance, cause tenants to manipulate their tenancy agreement to pay reduced rent ,or cause landlords to refuse a request to withdraw from a tenancy where violence is occurring if the evidence is conflicting.

Landlords and others need to know that they can be fined up to $3,000 if they disclose information around the withdrawal of a tenancy through family abuse.

Although these laws come into effect in August 2021, they can be brought into force prior to then in particular circumstances if evidence of abuse is present, for someone’s safety. 

If you or anybody you know is experiencing family violence in a tenancy situation it pays for you to know your rights with regard to the upcoming changes to tenancy law.  Also, if you are a landlord it is important that you know what the law is intending when it comes to family violence that occurs at a property that you own.

Leading law firms committed to helping clients cost-effectively will have a range of fixed-price Initial Consultations to suit most people’s needs in quickly learning what their options are.  At Rainey Collins we have an experienced team who can answer your questions and put you on the right track.