Family and domestic violence preparedness & HBAA - Real estate industry bulletin 199

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Property industry

20 June 2019

Family and domestic violence preparedness

Preparation is key to properly handling a tenancy situation impacted by family and domestic violence (FDV). Since the FDV changes to residential tenancy legislation came into effect, our officers have visited a few agencies to review their policies regarding family violence situations. 

Read on for some important clarifications and best practices to ensure your agency is prepared. If you met with one of our officers, this information will be a great review.

Serving notice to co-tenants

All notices related to FDV circumstances must be served to each co-tenant individually. This includes the concurrent or subsequent notice of an exit property condition report.

When serving notice of proposed entry, be sure to use the latest version of Form 19 that includes options for FDV-related circumstances.

Best practices for storing keys and records

The FDV changes enable a tenant affected by family violence to change locks and provide the lessor/property manager with a new key(s) within seven days unless that person is the alleged perpetrator. Further, the lessor/property manager is prohibited from giving a copy to anyone that the tenant has instructed them in writing not to.

Each agency should have appropriate procedures in place to document and safely store the keys. We recommend the following:

  • Affix a tag to clearly identify the keys.
  • Keep them secured at all times, perhaps in a separate locked cabinet.
  • Maintain a key register.
  • Store records of affected tenants and alleged perpetrators in a secure location.
  • Restrict access to keys and records to senior members of the agency.

At no time should an alleged perpetrator of FDV be given keys that an affected tenant has provided.

Best practices for tradespeople

Though the confidentiality provisions prohibit disclosing information about an FDV tenant with tradespeople, appropriate policies for trades on site can contribute to a safer space for the tenant.

Tradespeople should be required to maintain adequate security while working at a property, such as not leaving gates or garage doors propped open. The lessor is responsible for any damage or loss that occurs while tradespeople are on site, so this is a best practice in any circumstance. However, when family violence has occurred and the affected tenant has remained in the property, their safety and security are a prime concern.

Where a tenant affected by FDV has remained at a property, it may be prudent to ensure the tenant is advised of the business that will be attending, in case there is a connection to the perpetrator.

Helpful resources

Coming soon! Flowcharts to assist managing notifications and date counting when a tenant leaves due to FDV circumstances. Watch for a bulletin with links to the flowcharts in the next few weeks. 

www.safetenancy.wa.gov.au – Information hub for FDV changes. Share this link with existing and new tenants.
Landlord factsheet – Explains how the FDV changes affect landlords.
Tenancy WA resource guides – Fact sheets and information for affected tenants, co-tenants, and accused tenants. 
No place for family violence 5 min video – Animated explainer video outlining the FDV changes. Great link to share with existing and new tenants.
New! No place for family violence – Chinese version – As above.

Share the news: Home Buyers Assistance Account grant

Be sure to let your clients know about this great opportunity to reimburse some of the incidental expenses associated with the purchase of a first home in Western Australia!

Eligible applicants can receive a grant of up to $2,000 from the Home Buyers Assistance Account (HBAA).

Here are a couple of excellent resources to share with interested clients:

•    Today Tonight segment featuring the HBAA grant 

•    Home buyers assistance account guide for first home buyers 

Did you know? 

The HBAA scheme is funded from interest paid on real estate agents’ trust accounts. The work you do helps make this grant possible!

 

Consumer Protection
Bulletin
Last updated 21 Jun 2019

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