Minggu, 26 Juni 2011

Miscellaneous Provisions Bill misses provision

The Statute Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2011, to which we referred briefly the other day, was passed by the NSW State Parliament without amendment to those bits of it which deal with residential tenancies.

We identified one problem with the Bill: tenants who have fixed term agreements of exactly two years will now be exposed to the prospect of a rent increase during the fixed term. This is because the provisions for rent increases during fixed terms in s 42 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010, which originally applied to agreements for a term of 'more than two years', now apply to agreements for a term of 'two years or more'.

Now a Brown Couch reader alerts us to another problem.

(Esprit de l'escalier)

While it changes 'more than two years' to 'two years or more' in s 42, the Bill makes no change to a related provision in s 99 of the Act. This provision gives tenants under fixed term agreements a remedy if their rent is increased: they can terminate the agreement. This remedy is available if the agreement is for a fixed term of 'more than two years'.

So, if you've got an agreement for a fixed term of two years exactly, the Bill exposes you to rent increases - but doesn't extend to you the remedy of getting out of the agreement. You're stuck!

The Bill, though it has passed through the Parliament, has yet to commence. Hopefully this problem can be sorted out before it does.

But it's another reason why consultation before a Bill appears in Parliament would be useful.