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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 01 Hansard (Thursday, 15 February 2018) . . Page.. 322 ..

10. The RTA was amended to require properties without an Energy Efficiency Rating (EER) to be identified as such when advertised for rent.

11. The RTA was amended to mandate smoke alarms in all rental properties in the ACT, with tenants responsible for replacing batteries and reporting when the smoke alarm is not working, and lessors responsible for installation and maintenance.

12. The RTA was amended to recognise the reasonable costs of re-securing a property in response to a failure by a tenant to return keys to the lessor as a legitimate matter for a bond deduction.

Second tranche recommendations

The second tranche recommendations cover issues that were identified as significant during the review but required further legislative development. The report made the following second tranche recommendations:

1. Consider amending the RTA to include provisions similar to those in the NSW Act that a tenant may terminate a fixed term lease with 14 days notice if they can demonstrate they have accepted accommodation in social housing premises or an aged care facility or the lessor intends to sell the premises and did not disclose this before entering into the fixed term agreement.

2. Consider amending the Standard Terms to reduce the notice required for a lessor to terminate a periodic tenancy from 26 weeks to 12 weeks.

3. Consider amending clause 28 of the Standard Terms to reduce the maximum rent payable in advance to two weeks, instead of the current four weeks.

4. Consider amending the RTA to include a power for ACAT to issue notices about additional inconsistent terms that may be included in a lease without seeking ACAT endorsement. Notices issued by ACAT would be notifiable instruments. Criteria for inconsistent terms would be developed under s 10 (6) of the RTA.

5. Consider amending the RTA to provide that the unlawful inclusion of terms that are inconsistent with the RTA, or additional terms that have not been endorsed by ACAT, constitutes grounds for a tenant to terminate a lease.

6. Consider amending clause 70(a) of the Standard Terms (Tenant must not use the premises for illegal purposes and must not disturb the neighbours) to remove or modify the requirement for a ‘detriment to the lessor’s interest in the premises’.

7. Consider amending the RTA to remove the self-executing component of the conditional termination and possession order (CTPO) provisions, so that a breach of a CTPO does not automatically end the tenancy.

Where a breach occurs, the lessor would have the right to apply for a termination and possession order and a warrant for eviction within 60 days of the breach initially occurring. If a lessor chooses not to pursue a breach of a CTPO, the tenancy and order would continue unaffected, with the debt remaining with the tenancy. Further breaches may be actioned within 60 days of occurring.

8. Consider establishing a working group to consider the issues relating to occupancy agreements and develop recommendations. The working group would be asked to consider the development of standard occupancy terms, with particular emphasis on providing occupants with protections similar to those enjoyed by tenants as far as possible while retaining flexibility.

9. Consider amending the RTA to provide that a lessor cannot unreasonably refuse a subletting arrangement for part of the property, or a request to join a party to the lease, similar to the NSW provision. This amendment would not apply to social housing tenancy agreements.

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