A Landlords Guide to Residential Tenancy Laws in Australia

27 November 2023

Investing in real estate, particularly rental properties, has long been heralded for its potential to provide steady income, property value appreciation, tax advantages and control over the asset. However, recent residential tenancy reforms across Australia intending to improve tenant rights are reshaping the landscape and impacting the benefits and freedom landlords have previously enjoyed.
As the country grapples with record-low vacancy rates, soaring rent prices, and a growing population, it's crucial for landlords to understand and adapt to the evolving regulatory environment. In this blog we deal with some of the key changes for landlords.

New South Wales

In New South Wales, residential tenancy laws underwent significant changes in March 2020. Landlords are now required to ensure their properties meet minimum standards (i.e. be in a reasonable state of cleanliness and fit for habitation) and limit rental increases to once per year for periodic leases. Additionally, landlords must not unreasonably withhold consent for minor alterations by tenants. Fixed-term tenancy agreements cannot be terminated prematurely except for limited specific grounds (such as when the tenant has breached the agreement). Notice periods of at least 30 days at the end of fixed term tenancies and 90 days for periodic tenancies are mandated.


Victoria's rental laws, revamped in March 2021, aim to improve the security of tenants and in doing so, expand the responsibilities of landlords. The reforms include 14 categories of minimum standards for rental properties, covering aspects such as ventilation, door locks, lighting, and facilities. Guidelines on rent increases have also been established and a rental increase calculation must be outlined in fixed term tenancy agreements and notice be served properly or the increase may be invalid. If a tenant pays overdue rent within 14 days of it becoming due, any notice to vacate issued by the landlord for the overdue rent is invalidated (up to the first 4 times in a 12 month period). Landlords can only issue a notice to vacate at the end of the first fixed term and more generally must provide a valid reason to end a rental agreement (such as a sale, change of use or demolition of the property).


New laws came into effect in July 2023 restricting the frequency of rent increases to once every 12 months for both new and existing tenancies. And from 1 September 2023 new minimum housing standards apply to new or renewed tenancies from this date, with a transition period until 1 September 2024, for existing tenancies. These minimum standards include functional locks on doors and windows, proper laundry fixtures, and privacy provisions for the tenant. These new standards expand upon earlier minimum standards introduced in 2022. Other laws also came into effect in 2022 that introduced a range of specific reasons to end a tenancy with appropriate notice periods and to limit a landlord’s right to refuse the keeping of a pet in rental properties to identifiable reasonable grounds.

Western Australia

Proposed reforms were announced in May 2023 focusing on providing further security and flexibility for tenants. Under the proposed new laws minor property modifications by tenants would be allowed with limited grounds for landlord objections and rent increases will be limited to once a year, down from twice currently. Advertisements would need to display a fixed rent amount rather than a range of to prevent the practice of rent bidding. Tenants would also be allowed to have pets in most cases with the landlord having to apply to the Commissioner for Consumer Protection with a reasonable reason if they do not agree. The landlord's ability to terminate leases "without grounds" will remain unchanged. This means that the notice period of 60 days for periodic leases and 30 days for fixed leases will continue.

South Australia

On 29 November 2023, the South Australian government has passed a bill which amends the state’s Residential Tenancies Act 1995. Under the new laws, the minimum notice to end a tenancy is extended from 28 to 60 days and landlords are not able to unreasonably refuse a tenant keeping a pet provided the tenant agrees to comply with any reasonable conditions. The new laws also requires landlords to comply with minimum housing standards and introduce limited grounds for a landlord to terminate a tenancy including tenant breaches, or if a landlord wishes to sell, renovate or move into the property.


Tasmania's rental laws have seen no significant changes since the introduction of their minimum standards in October 2015. These standards amongst other things cover weatherproofing, cleanliness, lockability, and heating requirements in the living room. Other changes prohibited rent bidding and price bands when advertising the property and limited rent increases to every 12 months where previously it could be every six months. Notably, landlords retain the right to refuse pets without providing reasonable grounds.

Australian Capital Territory

From April 2023, new residential tenancy laws in the Australian Capital Territory set standards for ceiling insulation and limited reasons for landlords to end a tenancy. Landlords must advertise a property with a fixed price and cannot ask for and encourage potential tenants to bid more than what is advertised. Tenants are also supported for activities like growing food, composting, and having pets, with landlords unable to unreasonably refuse such requests.

Northern Territory

Changes to the Northern Territory Residential Tenancies Act 1999, commenced in January 2021, essentially require landlords to apply to a tribunal if they wish to object to the tenant keeping a pet. In strata properties the by-laws may provide other rules relating to the keeping of pets and the new laws will be subject to these by-laws. Fixed-term lease terminations remained unchanged and require the landlord to provide the tenant a 14 day notice prior to the end of the fixed term, while no grounds are necessary for ending a periodic lease with 42 days’ notice.

Have any questions?

If you have any questions or would like further information please contact lawlab on 1800 529 522 or by email conveyancing@lawlab.com.au.
Lawlab works with thousands of property buyers and sellers every year and uses this experience to make the conveyancing process easier for you.

Disclaimer This information is general in nature only and does not constitute legal advice. Lawlab accepts no liability for the content of this information. You should obtain legal advice specific to your individual circumstances. Lawlab’s liability is limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.
Aaron Gardner
Aaron Gardner
Legal Advisor

Aaron, a legal advisor at Lawlab, obtained his law degree in Newcastle. He specialises in property law, with a particular focus on residential conveyancing. Prior to Aarons career in Law, he worked in the hospitality industry in operations management which equipped him well with many transferable skills. Aaron is all about live sport and exploring what Melbourne has to offer, from restaurants and laneway bars to the great outdoors.

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