Real Estate and Housing Policy Team (NSW): Response to the review of domestic violence rental laws
This submission responds to the New South Wales Real Estate and Housing Policy Team’s review of domestic violence rental laws. ANROWS discusses the housing and financial stress experienced by victims and survivors of domestic and family violence (DFV) and the potential for tenancy laws to provide meaningful support and options for these individuals.
The New South Wales Government introduced changes to the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 (NSW) (“the Act”) in 2019 to provide victims and survivors with options to end their tenancy without penalty to escape domestic violence. The review of domestic violence rental laws is intended to determine whether the laws are still appropriate, or whether revisions are needed to ensure that they work best for those who use or are affected by them.
ANROWS’s submission to this review focuses on the housing and financial stress experienced by victims and survivors of DFV and the potential for these laws to provide them with meaningful support and options. ANROWS is supportive of the use of tenancy laws to strengthen protections for victims and survivors and commends the provisions that enable victims and survivors to provide evidence of circumstances of domestic violence without reliance on evidence from police or the justice system. The limits on liability and provisions for rental bonds also provide opportunities to reduce the financial stress for victims and survivors when implemented appropriately. These tenancy laws represent a meaningful element of developing and implementing a system-wide response to supporting victims and survivors.
Key overarching considerations discussed in this submission include, but are not limited to, the need for the following:
- Safe and secure housing for victims and survivors to enable them to leave a perpetrator, to maintain separation, to avoid financial stress, and to adhere to child custody requirements
- Workforce development and capability building to ensure that the tenancy laws are implemented as intended to support the safety of victims and survivors
- Monitoring and review of the potential unintended consequences of the implementation of the tenancy laws, supported by robust and ongoing evaluation
- Clarification of a number of definitions and the scope of the tenancy laws to support victims and survivors and their advocates to easily identify their eligibility to access protections under these laws
- Awareness of the potential for systems abuse by perpetrators through manipulation of these tenancy laws.
Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety. (2022). Response to the review of domestic violence rental laws [Submission]. ANROWS.