Commissioner's blog: Transitioning to normal tenancy laws
As the curtains close on Western Australia’s COVID-19 emergency period, we begin transitioning back to normal tenancy laws in which there is no longer a moratorium on rent increases and some evictions.
While everybody adjusts to the changes, Consumer Protection has been fielding enquiries from landlords and tenants wondering about their rights and responsibilities when it comes to ending a tenancy, rent rises and rental arrears.
When increasing rent, landlords need to provide tenants at least 60 days’ notice by giving the tenant a notice of rent increase form 10. While there is no cap on rent increases, a tenant can apply to the Magistrate’s Court for a determination if they believe the amount is excessive.
Tenants should know they cannot be evicted from a property straight after the end of the emergency period, as there is a process involved in ending a tenancy. Landlords are required to give 30 days’ notice to end a fixed-term tenancy and 60 days’ notice to conclude a periodic lease.
If a tenant has received a notice of termination, but has not left the premises on the due date, the landlord must then apply to the court for an order for vacant possession of the property.
Should a tenant have nowhere to go, the Emergency Relief and Food Assistance Service (ERFRAS) is a good first option – this service provided by Anglicare connects people with emergency relief assistance, financial counselling and other community help. If it’s a crisis situation, Consumer Protection has a guide to help tenants find a service that may be able to help.
Consumer Protection will continue playing its part to preserve tenancies across WA through the Residential Rental Relief Grants Scheme and providing a conciliation service to help tenants and landlords reach agreements on issues that have arisen during the pandemic.
Applications for conciliation, rent arrears assistance and future rent support grants will remain open until 28 June 2021, but in the meantime we urge landlords and tenants to act and negotiate in good faith to agree on reasonable and workable tenancy agreements, helping to create stability and certainty moving forward.
More information can be found at www.dmirs.wa.gov.au/covidrenting
Commissioner for Consumer Protection