Evictions in spotlight as executive asks ‘what is reasonable grounds?’

With the state government opening consultation around evictions, a property investment leader has voiced concerns over the potential loss of no-grounds evictions across NSW.

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Speaking on a recent episode of the Smart Property Investment Show, Ben Kingsley, the chair of the Property Investors Council of Australia (PICA), spoke about the potential upcoming changes to eviction legislation in NSW, raising alarm about the removal of no-grounds evictions.

With the government having pledged to bring in a “reasonable grounds” eviction policy ahead of the March 2023 election, this policy appears to be taking shape, with consultation now live via a survey.

To complete the consumer survey from the NSW Legislative Assembly Select Committee on the potential changes to the Residential Tenancies Act 2010, click here.

Back in March/April of this year, a poll conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs on behalf of the Tenants’ Union of NSW found a majority of renters and landlords supported the change to “reasonable grounds”.


But with current laws stating that no reason is required for a tenant to be evicted from a property, Kingsley is all for keeping the status quo, sharing: “We all know that if we’ve been in relationships as an example, that if we have a breakup in a relationship, we might say, it’s not you, it’s me. Because we don’t really necessarily want to get into where that relationship breakdown occurred.”

“And because of no-grounds evictions, we don’t need to basically start that conversation so effectively through the property manager. It will just be advised to the tenant that the relationship structure hasn’t worked or there’s a reason why we need to change the way in which the property is being operated. And so ultimately, that’s the no-grounds,” he stated.

According to Kingsley, the reason for a “180-degree” switch to removal of no-grounds evictions in NSW and the likely incoming requirement of reasonable grounds for eviction is due to the fact there is a lack of information available to officials as to why evictions are occurring across the state.

And according to the rental commissioner, as cited by Kingsley, these evictions are occurring every 18 minutes.

While many would consider reasons such as failure to pay rent, late payment of rent, damage to the property or failure to report damage, violating the lease terms, illegal activities going on within the property, health and safety violations, unauthorised occupants or overcrowding of the property, among others, as reasonable grounds to evict a tenant, Kingsley is concerned that these – plus other “reasonable” reasons will not hold up under the new-look legislation.

He pointed out that only four “grounds for eviction” appear to be considered within the legislation, with the first being: “The landlord or their family member or dependent intends to occupy the premises for at least 12 months, not six months, not three months.

“Number two: The landlord intends to renovate or repair the premises, and the premises requires or will be uninhabitable for at least four weeks.

“Number three: the premises will be unable to be used as a residence for at least six months.”

According to the chair, it’s unclear what definition the government will be leaning on as to “used”.

And finally, the fourth reasonable ground for termination, is determined by the minister … with no further context provided.

Walking through his concerns one step further, Kingsley expressed that “we do know in some jurisdictions around the world the selling of a property can be withheld as reasonable grounds”.

“In other words, if you want to go and tidy the property up to get the best result for your sale … I’m sorry, but the way in which this legislation and bill potentially works, it’s saying that no, you can’t go and improve the property … You’ve got to sell the property with the tenant in the property, so you don’t even get reasonable access to the property to show the property off in its best light.”

Doubling down that these “grounds” are the concerns the PICA has in terms of overreach, it led Kingsley to ponder the question: “What is reasonable grounds?”

With that question firmly front and centre for PICA, the chair said they are “trying to get the legislation changed”.

“If it’s not going to be no-grounds, what about all these other reasons why it’s fair and reasonable that there were irreconcilable differences [in a rental agreement]?”

With consultation on the topic only open for two weeks, Kingsley is urging as many people as possible to make their concerns heard.

To complete PICA’s survey on why a landlord/investor would evict a tenant, click here.

Listen to the full conversation between Ben Kingsley and Phil Tarrant here.

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