New residential tenancy laws are now in place. Though we don't expect these changes to have a significant impact on you and our service, there are a number of changes you should know about.

August 2020 Law Change

Rent Increases

Effective immediately, rent can now only be increased once every 12 months. This is not a considerable change, since rent adjustments are most common every 12 months as it is.

Laws Commencing February 2021

Rent Bidding

Landlords will no longer be able to seek rental bids. This includes advertising rental properties with no rental price listed. However, tenants are still allowed to offer to pay more for a property if they want.

Consent for Minor Changes

Landlords will not be able to unreasonably withhold consent for a minor change to the property and must respond to request within 21 days. Be aware that this amendment is heavily restricted, and the tenant must be able to return the property substantially to the same condition as before the change.

Fixed Term Tenancy Agreements

When a fixed term tenancy comes up for renewal, it will then automatically become a periodic tenancy, unless it is mutually agreed to be extended for another fixed term, or the tenant provides 28 days' notice before the tenancy expires.

Periodic Tenancies

Changes have been made to how a tenancy can end and the amount of notice given. While tenancies are going to be harder to terminate, it simply puts more importance than ever on having great, reliable tenants in the property. At HiAtlas, we rarely have problems with tenants and don’t expect this to effect owners who use our management.

Periodic tenancies can be terminated through Tenancy Tribunal if:

- The landlord issued a tenant three notices for separate anti-social acts in a 90-day period.

- The landlord gave notice that a tenant was at least five working days late with their rent payment on three separate occasions within a 90-day period.

- The landlord will suffer greater hardship than the tenant if the tenancy continues.

Landlords can give 63 days' notice when:

- The owner, their family, or their employees require the property to live in.

Landlords can give 90 days' notice when:

- The owner intends to put the premises on the market.

- The property has been sold with a requirement by the owner for vacant possession.

- The landlord is not the owner of the property, and the landlord’s interest ends.

- The landlord wants to use property for commercial use, or facilitate the use of nearby land for a business activity.

- The landlord intends to carry out extensive renovations at the property and it would be impractical for the tenant to live there.

- The premises are to be demolished.

Tenant Assignment Requests

Landlords cannot prohibit, or unreasonably decline requests from tenants wanting to transfer their interests and responsibilities under a tenancy to a new tenant. At HiAtlas this is an unusual occurrence, but if a change of tenant request does occur, we will reference and credit check the oncoming tenant, and discuss with you how best to proceed.

Existing Penalties Will Increase 50% - 80%

Current penalties will increase by 50%-80%, and the Tribunal will be able to make awards up to

$100,000. Higher infringement fees and fines are applicable to landlords with 6 or more properties. We will continue to advise you on any compliance concerns to ensure you make informed decisions and the property is well cared for.

Final Thoughts

For most landlords, the law that will cause the most worry is requiring fixed term tenancy agreements automatically converting into periodic tenancy agreements at the end of the fixed tenancy, and the potential difficulties in breaking tenancies as a result. However we don’t expect this to be a large concern at HiAtlas, and as always the best course of action to avoid any difficulties is to ensure you have great tenants from the very beginning. We also feel that with open communication between residents, ourselves and our owners issues that arise can be solved through mutual agreements.

Here at HiAtlas we are still getting steady demand for furnished apartments with available properties being snapped up quickly, we'd love to hear from you if you have any requirements or have a property that would fit in our portfolio.