- 'Co-tenant' now a legal concept
- Now easier for tenants to be added or removed from a tenenacy agreement
- Interests in the bond can change easier without any refunds occurring
Amendments to tenancies featured in the Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2020 (No 2) are now applicable.
Changes in the legislation include the introduction of a co-tenant as a legal concept, which the ACT Department of Justice says is a large step in modernising tenancy law.
As Canberra is the most expensive city to rent in – in part due to a mobile workforce within the public sector – the changes are expected to be welcomed by many professionals who live in sharehouse arrangements.
Under the legislation – which was passed last August – tenants can be easily added or removed from a tenancy agreement without the agreement itself ending.
A framework for transferring interests in a bond when housemates move in or out during a co-tenancy has also been established.
Any co-tenants can refuse a new person moving in, but the landlord can only do so if deemed ‘reasonable’. In the case of a dispute, an independent decision will be made by the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal
In terms of leaving a tenancy, any co-tenants or the landlord can refuse a person moving out if the tenancy is fixed-term. However, in the case of a periodic tenancy, landlords or co-tenants can only refuse a moving-out request if it is reasonable – in this case, the order needs to be obtained from the ACAT.
Assuming no disputes arise, this ultimately means people can move in and out of the share house freely without terminating the tenancy agreement; simply the original agreement continues albeit with different tenants.
Regarding the bond, the bond itself does not need to be refunded, but the registered interest in this bond will have to be updated through the Rental Bonds division of the ACT Revenue Office.
Privately, the incoming and outgoing tenants will need to arrange the transfer of bond payments between themselves.
Another advantage of the changes is that the landlord does not need to prepare a new condition report nor do they need to organise additional inspections. In the case of the incoming tenant, a copy of the original condition report will be provided.