Appointment of a Rental Commissioner

The NSW Government has opened a new front in property market reform with the appointment of Rental Commissioner Trina Jones.

Ms Jones, previously Homelessness NSW CEO, steps into the at-times fraught space between landlords and tenants amid headlines about a housing crisis after a sustained period of rising rents and falling vacancies. She will be empowered by a new Rental Fairness Bill that strengthens bans on rental bids, requires agents to submit pricing data from agents and enables a portable bond scheme.

What this means for owners?

While the NSW Government is resisting pressure from some quarters for rent freezes or caps, it is also moving towards curbing no-fault evictions and giving tenants more rights to own pets.

Beyond this, there are only general statements about “rebalancing” and “a fairer renting system.”

What this means for owners will take time to emerge, but further major changes cannot be ruled out in the wake of the transformative tenure of NSW Building Commissioner David Chandler in the new apartment construction field.

Tenant representatives

One area we will be watching with interest will be any measures to increase tenant involvement in owners corporations, given the limited impact of legislative reforms in 2015.

Among other things, these reforms made it clear that it was the individual owners’ responsibility to ensure new tenants had copies of by-laws and the owners corporation were provided with their contact details.

They also created opportunities for tenants to attend owners corporation meetings and be represented on strata committees in a non-voting capacity. If more than 50 per cent of a building’s occupants are tenants, then there is a requirement to convene a tenants’ meeting and elect a tenant representative.

There is little sign that these measures had any meaningful impact in terms of tenant representation or participation in strata meetings. The new Rental Commissioner may have cause to revisit that and find ways to encourage more tenants to play an active role in their strata community.

Hay your say

The NSW Government is seeking feedback about proposed changes to rental laws that aim to give more stability for renters and improve the overall renting experience.

Have your say on changes that would:

  • require reasons for why landlords can end a lease (ending ‘no grounds’ terminations)
  • make it easier for renters to keep pets
  • protect renters’ personal information and privacy
  • make it easier to transfer a rental bond from one property to another
  • make the system fairer in other ways.

To complete the online survey, upload a submission, read the consultation paper and find out more, visit


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