The Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2020 made some changes to the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 (Act) to enable tenants who have experienced family violence during their tenancy, to leave the tenancy at short notice by providing a family violence withdrawal notice.
The new provisions, now found in section 56B of the Act, took effect on 11 August 2021 and apply to both fixed-term and periodic tenancy agreements. The changes allow tenants to withdraw from their tenancy without imposing a financial penalty on the tenants, or the need for agreement from the landlord.
The Tenancy Services website now provides guidance on:
- the information that should be included in a withdrawal notice;
- how tenants should give notice to their landlord;
- the forms of evidence to show the tenant has experienced family violence during their tenancy; and
- the options available to any remaining tenants who wish to continue or end their tenancy.
If a tenant who has experienced family violence has any difficulties meeting these requirements or meeting the landlord at the property, they should discuss this with the landlord and try to come to an arrangement that works for both of them.
If there is a dispute, either party can apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to resolve the matter. Landlords are encouraged to be flexible in their approach to tenants who approach them with a situation of this nature.
Regulations to support the provisions in the Act are expected to be in place in early 2023.
Guidance published on the Tenancy Services website
New provisions in the Residential Tenancies Act 1986
More information about the Tenancy Tribunal
More information about where to get help for family violence