Is your rental property fit to fill? New minimum standards for tenancies

Bushfire recovery, a growing pandemic, unprecedented Centrelink queues, toilet paper mayhem… it’s safe to say that March 2020 was a big month for NSW.

And if you weren’t aware that the end of March also saw milestone changes to residential tenancy laws, you’d be easily forgiven. 

Since the changes were implemented earlier this year, all rental properties in NSW must now meet seven requirements to be ‘fit for habitation’. These have been outlined by Fair Trading NSW as basic standards that landlords must satisfy at the start of and throughout the tenancy, in order for their rental property to be compliant.

The changes are amid numerous actions taken to ensure safe and liveable conditions for tenants, where previously this was left open to the discretion of landlords. 

So what are the new requirements, and what responsibilities are being placed on rental property owners?

To be fit to live in, Fair Trading NSW outlined on 23 March 2020 that a property must (as a minimum):

  1. Be structurally sound
  2. Have adequate natural or artificial lighting in each room, except for storage rooms or garages
  3. Have adequate ventilation
  4. Be supplied with electricity or gas, and have enough electricity or gas sockets for lighting, heating and other appliances
  5. Have adequate plumbing and drainage
  6. Have a water connection that can supply hot and cold water for drinking, washing and cleaning
  7. Have bathroom facilities, including toilet and washing facilities that allow user’s privacy.

Other tenancy laws that were introduced on the 23 March include new smoke alarm obligations, damage and maintenance, set break fees and more – all of which can also be found on Fair Trading NSW.

For landlords, the new ‘fit for habitation’ requirements are providing greater choice for tenants, who will ultimately select the best home that fits their health and lifestyle needs – which often includes air conditioning, a smaller or low maintenance backyard, water and money-saving features, and other common criteria.

While these are the new minimum standards, it pays to aim higher by improving the state of your property in order to remain competitive in today’s market. After all, refusing to do so could not only see you fall short of valuable income, but it could have your property sitting vacant for a lot longer than expected!

Are you a landlord or a tenant after more information?

Get in touch with your local Prudential Real Estate office below:

Prudential Real Estate Campbelltown | (02) 4628 0033 |

Prudential Real Estate Liverpool | (02) 9822 5999 |

Prudential Real Estate Macquarie Fields |  (02) 9605 5333 |

Prudential Real Estate Narellan | (02) 4624 4400 |