New Domestic Violence Laws For Landlords Broader Than You Realise

 

Has your property manager advised you that your tenant can now terminate their lease with you at any time without penalty under the new domestic violence laws and the perpetrator does not need to live or even have lived at your property?

The laws are intended to provide a further layer of safety for victims of domestic violence by allowing them to escape further violence quickly if necessary, without undue financial hardship.

From the landlords we have spoken to, all were under the misapprehension that this law applies to couples in a domestic relationship. What many Landlords may not be aware of is that the victim and the perpetrator do NOT need to be currently living together or ever having lived together. In fact they they may never have even been a couple.

The definition of a domestic relationship is broad. From the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007 No 80, the meaning of domestic relationship includes not only standard relationships where a couple cohabit, but includes:

  1. Relatives of the victim
  2. Someone who “Has had an intimate relationship with the other person, whether or not the intimate relationship involves or has involved a relationship of a sexual nature”

The new laws allow a few things in addition to termination of the lease:

  1. If there is damage to the property caused by a domestic violence incident the only person who is responsible to pay for it is the perpetrator (not the tenant as per the standard agreement)
  2. The applicants tenancy can be ended immediately and without penalty if they OR their dependant children are in circumstances of domestic violence
  3. There is no recourse for the Landlord to the NCAT other than to dispute whether the notice was properly given. In other words the contents of the declaration cannot be disputed.

The new laws will require a delicate touch and some understanding on behalf of the landlord and is yet another reason why professional property management is becoming ever more important.

If you’d like to discuss how Certainty Property can help you mitigate these risks, feel free to give us a call on 1300 577 298 or send an email to simon@certaintyproperty.com.au