As part of the Better Business Reforms, legislation administered by NSW Fair Trading was reviewed to identify Acts that could be repealed or transferred into more appropriate Acts. The following Acts were identified during this process.
Innkeepers Act 1968
The original purpose of this Act was to overcome the common law strict liability imposed on innkeepers for the property of guests that is lost or stolen during their stay. This Act contained outdated provisions such as an exclusion of a traveller’s horse and innkeepers having to place a notice on the back of each room door. In 2012, Victoria repealed their Act and inserted relevant provisions into their Fair Trading Act.
From 1 July 2019, the Innkeepers Act 1968 is repealed, with relevant provisions transferred to the Fair Trading Act 1987.
Increased liability cap for guests’ lost or stolen goods to $300
Under the transferred provisions, the liability cap for lost or stolen goods is increased to $300. This accounts for inflation and aligns with other States. The previous cap of $100 was the lowest of all Australian States and had not changed in the 50 years since it was first set.
Change to notifying guests of the liability cap
The requirement to display signage in each room no longer applies from 1 July 2019. Notice about the liability cap may instead be given at reception and/or in the booking terms and conditions.
Prices Regulation Act 1948
This Act was a legacy of war-time rationing and an attempt by the government to control inflation and profiteering in the immediate post war period. The review found that this Act contained outdated references (e.g. ‘His Majesty’ and telegram service) and was largely redundant as it had not been used in a very long time. The last orders made were in 1995 to set a price cap on the resale of NRL Grand Final tickets. At one stage all Australian jurisdictions had similar laws but most of the Acts have been repealed.
From 1 July 2019, the Prices Regulation Act 1948 is repealed.
Maintaining the ban on speculating in goods and cornering the market
It remains an offence to speculate in goods or attempt to corner the market in goods. Cornering the market refers to obtaining enough control of particular goods in order to manipulate the market price for those goods. These prohibitions, along with relevant penalties, have been transferred into Schedule 7 of the Fair Trading Act 1987.
Landlord and Tenant (Amendment) Act 1948
This Act was introduced as a post war measure to provide rent control and security of tenure for tenants, particularly servicemen and their families. At one stage, all Australian jurisdictions had similar laws but the NSW Act is the last remaining. A series of amendments over the decades has reduced the Act’s coverage significantly. The law was last amended to prevent tenancies created after 1 January 1986 from having ‘protected’ status. The review found that while the provisions of the Act were still relevant to a small group of tenancies, maintaining a whole separate Act was no longer required.
From 1 July 2019, the Landlord and Tenant (Amendment) Act 1948 is repealed, with appropriate savings provisions inserted into Schedule 2 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010.
Maintaining protections for existing tenants and spouses but removing succession rights for dependent children
Under the savings provisions, the 1948 Act will continue to apply as if it had not been repealed until the death of the tenant of any premises covered by the Act. This also covers the spouse or de-facto partner who lived with the tenant immediately before their death.
The provisions of the 1948 Act continue to apply, including the control of rents and protections from eviction. The only provision not carried over is that a tenancy can no longer be transferred to a dependent child following the death of the tenant or their partner.