Residential Tenancies Act: legislative changes

Overview of legislation changes to the Residential Tenancies Act that impact landlords and tenants. Changes came into effect 26 June 2019.

Legislative changes to the Residential Tenancies Act. Changes came into effect 26 June 2019.

Change Details
Counting days and months The Counting Days Policy provides clarification on how to calculate certain time periods under the Residential Tenancies Act.

When you need to give notice under the Residential Tenancies Act based on a period of 1 or more months, you need to give the notice before the day of the month that rent is due. For example, if you need to give a month’s notice to end your tenancy (lease) on December 31, you need to give the notice on or before November 30.
Tenants’ abandoned personal property Landlords can now dispose of tenants’ abandoned property after 30 days with permission from the Residential Tenancies Program. Before, they had to store it for 60 days.

Landlords can immediately dispose of abandoned personal property if:
  • it has no monetary value
  • the cost of inventorying, removing, storing and selling the property would be more than the proceeds of selling it
Landlords need to store property such as personal documents, photographs and other items that are impossible or difficult to replace. Landlords must prepare an inventory but do not have to submit Form A.
Guarantee agreements between landlords and guarantors (co-signers) Landlords and guarantors (co-signers) can now enter into agreements on a tenancy (lease).

Landlord entering premises for showings during a fixed-term lease | The Residential Tenancies Act now specifies when landlords can show residential premises to a prospective tenant during a fixed-term tenancy (lease). These guidelines were already in place for year-to-year and month-to-month tenancies (leases).

Landlords can only enter the premises to show it to prospective tenants at reasonable hours after notice of termination of the tenancy (lease) has been given or if:
  • tenancy (lease) is less than a 6-month fixed-term tenancy (lease) and 1 month or less remains to the end of the term
  • tenancy (lease) is a 6-month or more fixed-term tenancy (lease) and 3 months or less remain to the end of the term
Assignments and sublets There are new rules, rights and responsibilities for landlords and tenants when subletting or assigning a lease for residential premises, including apartments and houses.

A tenant may assign or sublet a residential premises, with consent from the landlord. The landlord can’t unreasonably withhold consent or charge the tenant for consent unless the landlord has actually incurred costs in giving the consent. The same tenancy (lease) terms and conditions continue to apply to the new tenant.

If a tenant sublets residential premises to someone else:
  • the sublet agreement needs to specify the date the tenancy (lease) agreement ends
  • the tenant keeps the rights of a tenant and is responsible to the landlord for any breaches to the tenancy (lease) or Residential Tenancies Act
  • the subtenant has the same rights as a tenant and is responsible to the tenant for any breaches to the sublet agreement, the tenancy (lease) or the Residential Tenancies Act during the sublet
  • the subtenant needs to move out at the end of the term
Ending a tenancy when a tenant passes away The Residential Tenancies Act now specifies that a tenancy (lease) ends at the end of the month following the month a tenant passes away when there are no other tenants in the residential premises. For example, if a tenant passes away on 15 June, the tenancy (lease) automatically ends on 31 July.

There is no longer a requirement for a personal representative of the deceased tenant to provide notice to the landlord to end the tenancy (lease).
Filing counter complaints A party to an active application may file a counter claim with the Director of Residential Tenancies even if a 1-year period has passed since a tenancy (lease) ended.
Service of documents The Residential Tenancies Act now includes new methods to serve documents to other parties to an application to Director. These methods include:
  • personally serve the documents to the landlord, agent of landlord, property manager or the superintendent of the residential premises
  • personally serve the documents to the tenant
  • sending the documents to the landlord by prepaid registered mail, prepaid express post or prepaid courier service to an address stated in the tenancy (lease), where the landlord carries on business or where the rent is payable (it is deemed to be served on the third day after the day it is mailed)
  • sending it to the tenant by prepaid registered mail, prepaid express post or prepaid courier service to the address of the residential premises if the tenant lives there, or a forwarding civic address provided by the tenant
  • emailing it if the documents are in the same or mostly the same form as if written; if the person receiving the email can keep the email to use the documents later; and the other party provided an email address in the lease

All other documents under the Residential Tenancies Act can be served by methods above and by the following methods:

  • leaving the documents in the landlord's mailbox or mail slot at an address listed in the tenancy (lease) for the landlord, property manager or superintendent
  • personally serve the documents on an adult who lives with the tenant
  • leaving the documents in the tenant's mailbox or mail slot at the residential premises if the tenant currently lives there
Submitting evidence for use at a hearing Parties need to submit evidence to each other and the Residential Tenancies Program 5 days before the hearing, unless the Director of Residential Tenancies allows a later date.

Questions about the changes

Residential Tenancies can answer questions about the changes to the act and regulations.

Legislation