Amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 (the Act) and the new Residential Tenancies Regulation 2019 (the new Regulation) will come into effect from March 23rd 2020. The changes aim to reduce disputes over repairs and maintenance, increase protection and certainty for tenants, and clarify the rights and obligations of tenants and landlords.
Below are just some of the changes.
Changes of a ‘minor nature’
Tenants will be able to make minor alterations to the property which would be unreasonable for a landlord to withhold consent. The new Regulation lists the following kinds of fixtures or alterations, additions or renovations of a ‘minor nature’ for which it 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 2 meters) 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.
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.
Tenants are still responsible for any damage they cause to the property. The existing requirements on liability for damage and removing any alterations, additions, renovations or fixtures still apply.
At the end of the tenancy, a tenant is responsible for leaving the property in the same condition as at the start of the tenancy, except fair wear and tear. This includes making sure any alterations, additions or renovations are removed and also fixing any damage caused to the property.