Family and domestic violence tenancy preparedness & Tax time scams - Residential parks bulletin issue 8
Family and domestic violence tenancy preparedness
Protecting tenant privacy during reference checks
Preparation is key to properly handling a tenancy situation impacted by family and domestic violence (FDV). Since the FDV changes to residential long-stay tenancy legislation came into effect, our officers have developed a few best practices toward preparedness for family violence situations.
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.
Best practices for storing keys and records
The FDV changes enable a long-stay tenant who is affected by family violence to change locks and provide the park operator with a new key(s) within seven days unless the park operator is the alleged perpetrator.
You 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 administrative members.
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 on site, such as not leaving gates or garage doors propped open. The park operator 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 on site, 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.
- New! Flowcharts to assist park operators and tenants with managing notifications and date counting when a tenant wants to leave a long-stay agreement due to FDV circumstances:
- Park operator chart 3 - When your tenant terminates their interest in a lease on grounds of family and domestic violence
- Park operator chart 4 - When the SAT orders termination of perpetrator tenant's interest in a lease on grounds of family and domestic violence
- On-site tenant chart 1 - Terminate your interest in a lease on grounds of family and domestic violence
- On-site tenant chart 2 - When your co-tenant has terminated their interest in a lease on grounds of family and domestic violence
- 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.
It's tax time: Don't get scammed!
WA taxpayers are being warned about scams as losses increase. In the 12 months to the end of May 2019, 43 people reported to Consumer Protection losing a total of $205,250 to tax scams, representing a substantial increase on previous years. Tax scams usually peak between July and December as people are submitting their tax returns.
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