From 23 March, new legislation will make it easier for NSW tenants to make “minor” changes to a property. Here’s how it’ll affect you.
In a recent post to its website, NSW Fair Trading confirmed 23 March as the starting date that will see tenants enabled to make changes “of a minor nature” to a rental property.
“Tenants are currently allowed to install fixtures or make alterations, additions or renovations if they have the landlord’s written consent, or if the residential tenancy agreement permits it,” NSW Fair Trading said.
“If the tenant’s request for a fixture or alteration, addition or renovation is of a ‘minor nature’, then the landlord must not unreasonably withhold consent.
“The tenant must pay for the fixture they install or for any alteration, renovation or addition to the property that they make, unless the landlord agrees otherwise.”
As outlined on NSW Fair Trading’s website, the new regulation lists the following kinds of alterations, which would be “unreasonable” for a landlord to withhold consent:
• securing furniture to a non-tiled wall for safety reasons
• fitting a childproof latch to an outdoor gate of a single dwelling
• inserting fly screens on windows
• installing or replacing an internal window covering (i.e. curtains)
• installing cleats or cord guides to secure blind or curtain cords
• installing child safety gates inside the property
• installing window safety devices for child safety
• installing hand-held shower heads or lever-style taps to assist elderly or disabled occupants
• installing or replacing hooks, nails or screws for hanging paintings, picture frames and other similar items
• installing a carriage service to connect a phone line or to access the internet and any associated facility or customer equipment
• planting vegetables, flowers, herbs or shrubs (shrubs that don’t grow more than two metres) in the garden if existing vegetation or plants do not need to be removed
• installing a wireless removable outdoor security camera
• applying shatter-resistant film to window or glass doors
• making modifications that don’t penetrate a surface, or permanently modify a surface, fixture or structure of the property
According to NSW Fair Trading, the new regulation also specifies that a landlord may require that certain changes be carried out by a qualified person, including installing hand-held shower heads or lever-style taps to assist elderly or disabled occupants and installing a carriage service to connect a phone line or to access the internet and any associated facility or customer equipment.
“The changes will not apply if a property is listed on the loose-fill asbestos insulation register, or if the property is a heritage item. Some restrictions and exclusions also apply to property in a strata scheme or in a residential land lease community, or to social housing properties,” NSW Fair Trading said.
“Even if the fixture, alteration, addition or renovation is included in the above list, tenants are still required to get the landlord’s written consent to the change. However, for changes that are on the list and not covered by an exemption, it is unreasonable for the landlord to refuse consent or place conditions on the consent.”