A landlord can currently end a tenancy agreement for no reason by giving the tenant 26 weeks’ notice (a ‘without cause’ termination).

This ‘without cause’ termination undermines a tenant’s ability to stay in their home as it means they can be evicted without having breached their tenancy agreement, or without having received another reason allowed under the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (RTA) from the landlord, such as where the landlord wants to sell, renovate, or move into the property.

The ACT Government has committed to ending no cause evictions in the Parliamentary and Governing Agreement for the 10th Legislative Assembly (Appendix 2 12).

The ACT Government last year sought the community’s views on how best to implement this commitment through a Consultation Paper on the proposed rental reforms.

The Public Exposure Draft of the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill 2022 has been developed based on the feedback we received last year.

The Draft Bill removes the without cause termination provision from residential tenancy agreements in the ACT.

To support landlords to continue to manage their tenancies, however, new ‘with cause’ reasons for terminating a tenancy are proposed. These include:

  • Termination of a periodic tenancy (also known as a 'month to month' tenancy where there is no fixed term for the agreement) where the landlord wants to change the use of the property to another lawful purpose (such as to run a business).
  • Termination where either the tenant or landlord has engaged in threatening, harassing, intimidating or abusive conduct which justifies termination of the tenancy. The ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT) will be responsible for deciding if it is appropriate to end the tenancy and the bill sets out a range of factors ACAT must consider when making this decision.

  • Termination provisions for community housing providers including:
    • Termination where the tenant is no longer eligible for supported accommodation
    • Termination where the community housing provider (CHP) is managing a property owned by the Territory and the Territory requires the CHP to return the property.

  • Termination provisions specific to tenancies with Housing ACT, including:
    • Termination if the tenant is no longer eligible for housing assistance
    • Termination if the tenant refuses a transfer to an alternate premises
    • Termination if the tenant is party to 2 tenancies, and
    • Termination if the tenant is being provided with a temporary period of housing assistance and that period is ending.

Under the Draft Bill provisions, landlords will need to provide evidence where they want to sell, renovate or change the use of the rental property (this requirement currently applies only to situations where the landlord wants to move into the property).

The Draft Bill also proposes changes to the provisions in the RTA relating to retaliatory (or revenge) evictions to:

  • allow tenants to challenge a notice to vacate on the basis it is retaliatory (rather than having to wait until the termination and possession order hearing to make this claim) and

  • expanding the circumstances in which a tenant may claim a proposed notice to vacate is retaliatory to include circumstances where the tenant has spoken to the media or posted on social media about their tenancy experience (so long as they statements are not false or misleading).

Other minor and technical changes to amend references to approved forms for notices to vacate in acknowledgement there are not currently any approved forms. This involves related changes to the defective termination notice provisions.

A full list of the current and proposed new termination provisions available to landlords in managing their properties is included at the end of the Attorney-General’s Cover Letter.

The Cover Letter also contains some additional detail about the approach to the supported accommodation termination provisions and the provisions specific to the Commissioner for Social Housing.

The Explanatory Statement of the Draft Bill also contains a detailed explanation of each of the provisions proposed in the Draft Bill.

To have YourSay on this and other rental reforms, please: