Residential Tenancies Act – Break fees payable by tenant (Part 6)

ReThere are new break fees payable by a tenant who wishes to break a fixed term lease under Residential Tenancies Act 2010 and new Residential Tenancies Regulation 2019 which commenced on 23 March 2020

Mandatory break fees apply to all fixed-term agreements of 3 years or less, when a tenant ends the agreement early. This applies to agreements that are entered into from 23 March 2020.

The break fees are:

• 4 weeks rent if less than 25 per cent of the agreement has expired
• 3 weeks rent if 25 per cent or more but less than 50 per cent of the agreement has expired
• 2 weeks rent if 50 per cent or more but less than 75 per cent of the agreement has expired
• 1 weeks rent if 75 per cent or more of the agreement has expired

For example:

• If 7 months of a 12 month tenancy agreement (or 58 per cent) has expired, a tenant would need to pay a fee equal to 2 weeks rent to the landlord to end the agreement early
• If 2 months of a 6 month tenancy agreement (or 33 per cent) has expired, the tenant would need to pay a fee equal to 3 weeks rent to the landlord to end their agreement early

If you need assistance with any property or land matters contact Everingham Solomons because Helping You is Our Business.Read More

Residential Tenancies Act – Tenants damage and modifications (Part 5)

There have been amendments as to what constitutes damage and the rules regarding removing modifications under Residential Tenancies Act 2010 and new Residential Tenancies Regulation 2019 which commenced on 23 March 2020

Tenants are responsible for any damage they cause to the property.

At the end of the tenancy, a tenant is responsible for leaving the property in the same condition as at the start of the tenancy, except fair, wear and tear. This includes making sure any alterations, additions or renovations are removed and also fixing any damage caused to the property. A tenant can choose whether to remove any ‘fixtures’ they have installed, provided they repair or compensate the landlord for any damage caused by removing the fixture.… Read More

Residential Tenancies Act – Can a tenant alter the premises? (Part 4)

There have been amendments as to what constitutes alterations of a ‘minor nature’ under Residential Tenancies Act 2010 and new Residential Tenancies Regulation 2019 which commenced on 23 March 2020.

The new Regulation lists the kind of fixtures, alterations, additions or renovations that are ‘minor’. Some examples are:

• securing furniture to a non-tiled wall for safety reasons
• fitting a childproof latch to an outdoor gate of a single dwelling, installing child safety gates inside the property or window safety devices
• installing/replacing an internal window covering e.g. curtains, removable blinds, installing cleats/cord guides to secure blind/curtain cords
• installing a wireless removable outdoor security camera
• applying shatter-resistant film to window/glass doors
• planting vegetables, flowers, herbs or shrubs (shrubs that don’t grow more than 2 metres) in the garden if existing vegetation/plants do not need to be removed
• installing hand-held shower heads/lever-style taps to assist elderly or disabled occupants.… Read More

Residential Tenancies Act – Smoke Alarm Obligations (Part 3)

There are new smoke alarm obligations for landlords and tenants under Residential Tenancies Act 2010 and new Residential Tenancies Regulation 2019 which commenced on 23 March 2020.

Landlords need to ensure smoke alarms installed in a rented property are in working order.

Under the new Regulation, a landlord must repair/replace a battery-operated or hardwired smoke alarm and:

• carry out annual checks to ensure all smoke alarms installed at the property are in working order
• replace a removable battery in all smoke alarms in the period specified by the smoke alarm manufacturer (for a removable lithium battery) or otherwise annually
• repair/replace a smoke alarm that is not working within 2 business days of becoming aware that it is not working
• provide more than an hour’s notice to the tenant to replace or carry out repairs to the smoke alarm
• replace a smoke alarm with a new smoke alarm within 10 years from the manufactured date, or earlier if specified by the smoke alarm manufacturer.… Read More

Residential Tenancies Act – What is fit for habitation? (Part 2)

There are new minimum standards to clarify “What premises are fit for habitation” under Residential Tenancies Act 2010 and new Residential Tenancies Regulation 2019 which commenced on 23 March 2020.

Currently landlords are required to provide a rented property in a reasonable state of cleanliness and ‘fit for habitation”. The changes introduce 7 minimum standards which clarify what ‘fit for habitation’ means.

To be fit to live in, the property must (as a minimum):

1. Be structurally sound
2. Have adequate natural or artificial lighting in each room, except storage rooms or garages
3. Have adequate ventilation
4. Be supplied with electricity or gas, and have enough electricity or gas sockets for lighting, heating and other appliances
5.… Read More

New Form of Residential Tenancies Act (Part 1)

There’s been amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 and new Residential Tenancies Regulation 2019 which commenced on 23 March 2020.

The purpose of the changes are to improve the tenants’ renting experience while ensuring landlords can improve management of their properties.

The aim of the changes are:-

* to assist with reducing disputes over repairs and maintenance,
* increase protection and certainty for tenants, and;
* clarify the rights and obligations of tenants and landlords.

One of these changes is a new form of Residential Tenancy Agreement and Condition report to be used for agreements entered into from 23 March 2020.… Read More

Notification of new address details after selling your property

So you have sold your house and moving to a new property, who do I need to notify?

First, you should contact Australia Post and complete the mail redirection form to have any mail redirected to your new address. This redirection can be for a period of 1, 3, 6 or 12 months. You also need to ensure everyone in the household will be covered under the redirection form.

Some government departments like Roads & Maritime Services and the Firearms Registry have requirements that you need to advise them within 14 days of your change of address.

The other organisations/businesses you need to advise of your change of address are:-

• Roads & Maritime Services for your driver’s licence, vehicle/trailer/caravan and boat registrations
• Firearms Registry
• Services Australia: – Centrelink, Medicare, Child Support Agency
• Department of Veterans’ Affairs
• Australian Taxation Office
• Electoral Commission
• Recreational Fishing Licence

• Bank/Credit Union/Financial Institution
• Insurance providers
• Company Share registries
• Tradesperson/professional licence i.e.… Read More

What is land tax?

Land tax is levied by NSW Government on 31 December each year on all property you own that is above the land tax threshold.

Generally, you don’t pay land tax on your home, known as your principal place of residence or your farm, known as primary production land. There are further exemptions which cannot be dealt with in this article.

You pay tax based on the combined value of all taxable land you own, not on each individual property. If the combined value of your land does not exceed the threshold, no land tax is payable.

For 2020 tax year, the general threshold is $734,000.… Read More

Dealing with the Australian Taxation Office (“ATO”) after someone has died?

Initially, you need to establish if the deceased person had a Will, to determine who the executor is, that is who can manage the Estate.

Next, has a grant of probate been obtained by the executor? If no, you will need to provide further information to the ATO if you wish to establish authority to deal with the tax affairs of the deceased person. If probate has been granted, then the executor has authority to notify the ATO of the person’s death and deal with their tax affairs.

Notifying the ATO of the person’s death can be in paper by completing a “Notification of a deceased person” form with a certified copy of the Death Certificate and Will and submitting it by mail.… Read More

When does bank finance “approval” mean approved?

You’ve been saving hard and have the deposit to purchase your first home. You’ve looked at many houses and finally found the one. You’ve made an offer through the real estate agent and your offer has been accepted by the vendor.

You organise your pest and building reports. You know your finance is arranged as you’ve been pre-approved by your chosen lender. WRONG!

A pre-approval of finance from a lender is only an “indication” of the amount the lender considers you may borrow based on your previous financial circumstances. Until you receive written confirmation of finance approval from your lender noting the details of the house you intend to purchase and sign a loan contract, the lender is under no obligation to provide you with finance.… Read More