The Landlord and Tenant (Amendment) Act 1948 (NSW) (LTA Act) will be repealed on 1 July 2019, as part of the NSW Government’s Better Business Reforms package.
This relates to rent controlled properties only and relevant savings provisions from the LTA Act will be inserted into Schedule 2 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 (NSW).
The LTA Act was originally introduced to provide post-war housing, enabling rent control and security of tenure for tenants, particularly servicemen and their families. Because the provisions of the LTA Act are now only relevant to a small group of tenancies, maintenance of the entire Act is unnecessary.
Succession rights to be removed
As part of the change, existing tenants and their spouses will remain protected. However, succession rights for dependent children will be removed.
The NSW Government has informed REINSW that the protection afforded by the LTA Act will continue to apply as if it had not been repealed until the relevant tenant passes away. A spouse or de-facto partner is also covered if they lived with the tenant immediately before the death.
“As a supporter – in principle – of measures to simplify, repeal and reform existing legislation, REINSW did not oppose the repeal of the LTA Act,” says REINSW CEO, Tim McKibbin.
“We maintain the view that there is no merit in upholding the current LTA Act, but recognise the need for the NSW Government to deal fairly and immediately with the protected individuals affected by the repeal.”
Immediate action for affected individuals
McKibbin says before the LTA Act is repealed, the NSW Government should not only be aware of the number of properties protected under the LTA Act, but must also be prepared to provide re-housing for dependent children living in the protected properties following the death of the tenant or their partner.
“The Government must be conscious of the fact that some of the affected individuals depend on protected rent in order to survive – being unlikely to be able to afford the rent charged by private landlords,” he says.
McKibbin says REINSW is concerned that, once the LTA Act is repealed, these individuals may be without housing.
“In this case, immediate intervention from the NSW Government will be required,” he says.
“REINSW has suggested to the NSW Government that this may be in the form of prequalifying for immediate social housing or assistance with relocating to housing that is affordable based on their individual financial circumstances.
“In any event, REINSW is of the opinion that this is a matter for the NSW Government and not private landlords.”