Renting in NSW is absolutely fucked right now, but like a flower emerging from the cracked pavement of one of Sydney’s derelict homes, no grounds evictions are soon to be banned in the state for those on rolling leases. One nice thing in this sea of fuckery.
The NSW Liberal and National parties, Labor and the Greens have all agreed to put a stop to landlords evicting tenants who are on extended leases without a reasonable excuse, something that should have been made illegal long ago.
Instead, the Libs and Nationals have proposed a new model of “reasonable grounds” evictions instead, though what these reasons are remains to be seen.
Labor spokesperson for Better Regulation and Innovation Courtney Houssos said she expects things like a landlord or their family member moving back into their home or wanting to sell the property to make the list of reasons to evict a tenant, per Sydney Morning Herald.
However, it’s important to note that it seems this change would only be for people on rolling leases — tenants on fixed-term leases can go fuck themselves, I guess?
“The reform that is needed is to get rid of no-ground terminations altogether,” UNSW City Futures Centre senior research fellow Dr Chris Martin told SMH.
“You’re still going to be concerned about getting repairs done if a landlord can turn around and give you a no-grounds eviction at the end of a 12-month lease.”
Contrary to Houssos’ speculation, Dr Martin also reckons putting a property for sale shouldn’t be considered “reasonable grounds” to evict someone because there’s a good chance the buyer would be happy for the tenant to continue paying them to live there.
The move comes as part of a package of policy changes that affects renters given the crisis we’re currently living in.
The new policies would also see the notice period for the end of fixed-term leases become 45 days instead of 30, so people have an extra couple of weeks to find a new home.
Landlords will also be able to sign tenants onto longer leases — three and five years — though these options are not mandatory to offer so I have no idea why any landlord would actually do this. I mean, my landlord literally made my lease shorter by changing it to six-monthly instead of the yearly one I was already one for no reason (read: to be able to raise my rent twice in a year instead of once).
Greens Housing spokesperson Jenny Leong said the party is cracking down on no-grounds evictions because they are often used to “punish” renters — something that is happening more and more frequently as the market tips completely to the landlord’s power. Just ask this Sydney renter, who was evicted because he had friends stay over — which his landlord referred to as “freeloading”.
“It would tip the balance and immediately provide more protections on renters, if they raise concerns on maintenance and other issues they are not facing evictions by simply making a complaint,” Leong said, per SMH.
Look, I don’t know how much it would actually tip the balance, especially if the reforms are weak and don’t cover anyone on fixed-term leases, but it’s better than nothing.
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