‘No grounds’ evictions allow landlords to kick out a tenant at the end of a 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.
Rental laws in many other countries don’t allow ‘no grounds’ evictions.
Why do things need to change?
According to a recent survey co-authored by CHOICE, 83% of people renting 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.
Many renters don’t know where they will be living from year to year and are living in fear of being thrown out of their homes. The lack of security creates stress – and it’s a particular challenge for families with school-aged children and for retired people. Each time a tenant is forced to move there is a considerable financial and personal cost.
Many of the protections that tenants have under our laws are undermined by ‘no grounds’ evictions.
'No grounds' evictions allow dodgy landlords avoid their responsibilities around maintenance, as they can simply throw out tenants who demand that repairs are done. They also provide a loophole for landlords who want to impose an excessive rent increase (which is not allowed under NSW laws) as they can simply boot out the existing tenants, then set rents at whatever figure they want.
Tenants shouldn’t live in constant fear of receiving a termination notice if they ask for repairs, try to negotiate a rent increase, or simply because an agent or landlord doesn’t like them.
Watch Jenny Leong MP's parliamentary speech on ending ‘no grounds’ evictions
What can we do?
This year the NSW Government has the opportunity to rectify this major issue for renters, with the statutory review of the Residential Tenancies Act that is currently underway.
The terms that allow ‘no grounds’ terminations of a rental lease can be removed and replaced with a list of reasonable grounds that could be used by landlords who require vacant possession of their property.
Landlords should have the right to take control of their property when there is a genuine reason, for example if they or their family want to move in or if major renovations need to be done. But by ending ‘no grounds’ evictions, we remove a loophole that can be used by dodgy landlords to avoid their responsibilities or impose an excessive rent increase.
- The Tenants Union on why ‘no grounds’ evictions should end
- SMH Domain highlight rental nightmares and concerns with ‘no grounds’ evictions
- The Advocate highlights tenants living in fear of ‘no grounds’ evictions