What are no grounds evictions?
‘No grounds’ evictions allow landlords to evict a tenant at the end of a fixed-term lease, or during an on-going lease, without giving any reason, even when the tenant has paid their rent on time, looked after their rental home and the landlord wants to keep renting it out.
Under our current laws in NSW, a landlord can evict a tenant without grounds with just 30 days’ notice at the end of their fixed-term lease, or with just 90 days’ notice during an on-going lease.
Australian consumer advocacy group CHOICE have noted that Australia is one of the few OECD countries that allow ‘no grounds’ evictions.
Why do we need to end no grounds evictions?
No grounds evictions provide a loophole for dodgy landlords who want to avoid their responsibilities or put profits ahead of the well-being of their tenants.
Under our current laws, many people who are renting live in constant fear of receiving a no grounds eviction notice if they ask for repairs, try to negotiate a rent increase, or simply because an agent or landlord doesn’t like them.
While tenants have protections under our laws, those protections are undermined while no grounds evictions are allowed, as tenants who try to enforce their rights can then be kicked out for no reason.
Shouldn’t landlords get to decide what happens to their properties?
People who own a property and rent it out should be able to end this arrangement when there is a genuine reason – or ‘grounds’ to do so.
Those reasons could include: when the landlord wants the property for themselves or a family member; when substantial repairs or renovations need to happen; when the property has become unsafe. There could be other valid reasons set out in law. In cases of dispute, the Tribunal could assess whether the reason put forward was genuine.
When an owner intends for a property to remain on the rental market, an existing tenant should be allowed to stay in their home, as long as they are taking care of the property and paying their rent on time.
Shouldn’t landlords get to evict problem tenants?
The Act already includes a number of grounds for evicting a tenant who does the wrong thing, for example, if they don’t pay their rent, if they seriously damage the property, if they use the property for illegal purposes, or if they breach their lease in any way.
These grounds would all remain.
Landlords should not be allowed to evict someone who requests repairs or raises maintenance issues.
How would you stop landlords from making up a reason to evict their tenants?
Landlords who give a false reason for ending a tenancy should have to pay a penalty. The penalty could be compensation to the former tenant, to cover the cost of their move. This provides a deterrent to dodgy landlords and an incentive for tenants to expose cases where the landlord has done the wrong thing.
Why is this happening now?
NSW rental laws are under review. The NSW Government has conducted a statutory review of the Residential Tenancies Act and we expect that the Government will propose changes to the laws in the coming months. They have an opportunity to make this small change, which will improve security for renters all across the state.
How often do no grounds evictions happen in NSW?
It’s impossible to tell, as no statistics are gathered on this. But in our view one ‘no grounds’ eviction is too many.
We do know that many renters live in fear of no grounds evictions. According to a recent study co-authored by CHOICE, 83% of renters in Australia have no fixed-term lease or are on a lease less than 12 months long, and 62% feel they're not in a position to ask for longer term rental security.
Who agrees that we should end no grounds evictions?
Many organisations have said that they support ending no grounds evictions in NSW, recognising that they put tenants in a precarious position and can be used to end tenancies for unfair reasons.
You can find a list of organisations that have publicly supported ending the use of no grounds evictions here.