The Latest Update from MBIE Regarding Family Violence
MBIE has updated RPMA on the provisions in the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 (RTA) to enable victims of family violence to leave a tenancy at short notice (section 56B), and to enable landlords to terminate tenancies where a charge has been filed for assault (section 55AA).
The two sets of provisions can be used currently:
After taking legal advice they are saying that the provisions are in effect and can be used, even though the regulations are not yet in force.
This means a tenant can give their landlord a family violence withdrawal notice, attaching a form of evidence, and expect it to have effect.
A landlord can serve a termination notice on a tenant if the tenant physically assaults them (or the landlord’s agent or a member of their family), the Police file a charge related to the assault, and the notice attaches a form of evidence the Police have filed a charge.
Guidance has been published on the MBIE Tenancy Services website to make clear that the provisions can be used
They have updated the information on the Tenancy Services website about the family violence withdrawal notice provisions and the termination for physical assault provisions here.
Their guidance is based on what the Residential Tenancies Act specifies about how the two sets of provisions will operate. Please note the guidance is interim and not the same as detailed regulation.
MBIE states “We cannot pre-empt the decisions that the Tenancy Tribunal may make related to the family violence withdrawal notice provisions or the termination for physical assault provisions if a dispute is brought in front of them”.
Family Violence Withdrawal Notices
MBIE’s guidance for family violence withdrawal notices, the notice must attach at least one form of evidence that the tenant has experienced family violence during the tenancy.
In the absence of regulations, examples of acceptable evidence could include:
- a letter or email from a medical professional (for example, a doctor or nurse), a social worker, or a family violence service provider
- a Police Safety Order, a Protection Order or charging document relating to the family violence that was issued during the tenancy.
MBIE anticipates that the options for qualifying evidence of family violence will be significantly broader in the regulations than currently provided for in guidance.
For physical assault termination notices, the notice must attach at least one form of evidence that the Police filed an assault charge.
In the absence of regulations, examples of evidence could include:
- Police charging documents in respect of the assault
- written confirmation from police that charges for assault have been filed.
MBIE / HUD are working to have the regulations in place as soon as possible to provide clarity and ensure that the provisions operate in accordance with Parliament’s intentions.
In the meantime, the Tenancy Tribunal will continue to decide any matter before it based on the facts of the case, including tenancy disputes involving family violence or terminations for assault.
New regulations expected to be in place early 2023
“This timing allows for the regulations to be drafted, approved and gazetted by December, and come into effect early 2023. We will move through the next steps as fast as possible while ensuring appropriate scrutiny” states MBIE.
RPMA Member Feedback
Before RPMA responds to this latest information we would like Members' feedback so that we can advocate on your behalf.