Residential Tenancies Act review 2019

Your house, My home: Rethinking renting in WA

Did you know that it has been more than 10 years since the rental laws in Western Australia have been reviewed? With the high cost of owning a home, more Western Australians than ever are renting, and tenants are staying in the rental market for much longer periods. Maybe it's time for a change.

Your house My Home logo
Your house My Home logo, by Consumer Protection
 

It's time to rethink renting in Western Australia to ensure our laws meet the needs of tenants and the landlords who provide their housing, both now and into the future. We are reviewing the Residential Tenancies Act 1987 (WA) and we want to hear from you. 

Your views are important

We encourage you to take the time to read the detailed public consultation discussion paper in full and share your thoughts with us. There are a number of questions throughout the paper for consideration that may help you prepare your feedback.

Download full consultation paper

Short on time but still want to have your say?

Below we've summarised some of the more common topics of interest to tenants and landlords. Click each link to see a brief overview of the issue and possible options for change. Available in English, Arabic, Simplified Chinese, Italian, Korean and Vietnamese.

Before the tenancy

RTA CRIS before icon
RTA CRIS before icon, by Consumer Protection

 

During the tenancy

RTA CRIS during icon
RTA CRIS during icon, by Consumer Protection

Ending the tenancy

Dispute resolution and offences

RTA CRIS dispute resolution icon
RTA CRIS dispute resolution icon, by Consumer Protection

Prefer all fact sheets in one document? 

We've grouped all fifteen into one PDF for easy downloading.  Download fact sheets complete set

Stories of renting in WA

We want to hear about personal experiences of renting a home in WA and will be showcasing stories throughout the consultation to encourage feedback to the review. Do you have a rental story to tell? Please share it with us. If you would like the information treated as confidential, please let us know. 

Please note the following stories have been generated from information provided to the department and are for the sole purpose of generating discussion on key issues in the rental marketplace. Where necessary, information has been de-identified. 

"Richard is 55 and is renting privately through a property manager. He has been unemployed for a number of years after being made redundant at work. He struggles to afford the rent and his other bills on his Newstart Allowance and his dwindling savings. He has had his name on the waiting list for public housing for the last 2 years.

Because Richard knows he has limited income, when he found an apartment he could afford, he asked for a fixed two year lease. Twelve months into the fixed term, Richard has finally been offered a public housing rental. Unfortunately, Richard still has 12 months to go on his current fixed term lease.

He has explained to the property manager that he has been offered a public housing rental and asked if he could terminate the lease early. The property manager informed him that he could do so, but would have to pay compensation to the landlord for things like advertising the premises, as well as continuing to pay rent on the premises until a new tenant is found.

Richard knows that it is taking a lot longer to find tenants at the moment as there are a lot of vacant properties on the market. Richard knows that he can barely afford the rent on his current rental, let alone afford to pay the rent for both this place and his public housing rental.

He asks for advice from the tenancy network to see if there is another way he can end his fixed term tenancy early. He learns that his only other option is to apply to the court to have the agreement terminated on the grounds of hardship, but it will take quite a few weeks to get a hearing and it is not guaranteed that he will get a favourable answer. Richard cannot risk an outcome where he is legally required to pay rent for both premises and so he feels that he is forced to decline the offer for public housing, leaving him in the private rental market that he struggles to afford."

Has this happened to you? Tell us your story How do you think this problem could be solved?

Read other renting stories

Linda's landlord insurance provider wouldn't pay her claim

"Linda is a landlord whose tenant fell behind in her rent. Linda’s tenant told her she had been sick, and because she was a casual worker, she did not get paid for over a month. This meant she was behind in all of her bills but she promised to catch up. Linda was sympathetic to her tenant and agreed that she could catch up on the rent by paying a bit extra each week over the next two months. Unfortunately the tenant then lost her job and fell even further behind in her rent. After three months of not being employed, it became clear to Linda that her tenant could no longer afford the rental, so she issued the tenant with a breach notice and then a notice to terminate the tenancy. The tenant vacated the premises, but could not pay the rent. Linda made a claim on her landlord’s insurance because she was covered for non-payment of rent. But the insurer would not pay because it said that she had not terminated the tenancy at the earliest possible opportunity and therefore had voided her insurance cover."

As a landlord or property manager, have you experienced this? Tell us your story.

Jane had to move many times

Jane is a single aged pensioner. She has been renting for the last 23 years because after the breakdown of her marriage, she could not afford to purchase another home. In these last 23 years, Jane has had to move rental properties 11 times. Sometimes she has had to move because the landlord wanted the property back for their own purposes. Many times it was because the landlord at the time kept increasing the rent every six months until she could no longer afford to rent the premises. This was despite the fact that Jane had often improved the property out of her own money and had cared for the gardens.

Every time Jane moved, it cost her a lot of money, making it harder each time for her to make ends meet. It also had a significant impact on her emotional and physical health. She said each move was exhausting. It also meant she lost connection with friends that she had made in her community, and as the moves become more common, she found herself reluctant to make strong connections within her community for fear she would lose it all again. Jane reflects back that she never moved by choice. Jane said all she really wanted was the certainty of being able to stay long term in a home without being priced out by frequent rent increases or landlords selling the home shortly after she had moved in.

Has this happened to you? Tell us your story. How do you think this problem could be solved?

John's landlord didn't make repairs

John rented a property through a real estate agent. In January, he noticed a potential gas leak from his stove as he could smell gas and the cooktop would not light properly. He notified the property manager immediately. The property manager attended the property but could not repair the stove as it was too old and parts were no longer available. The plumber prepared a report for the property manager and owner stating that a new stove would have to be installed.

Despite repeated calls from John to the property manager, no further action was taken to replace the stove. John did not have access to any cooking facilities and had to use an outdoor barbeque to cook. It was only in May that year, when John contacted Consumer Protection for assistance and Consumer Protection contacted the property manager that the stove was finally replaced.

Have you had a situation where repairs were not performed in a timely manner? Tell us your story

Gary's tenant stopped paying rent

Gary is a landlord whose tenant has stopped paying rent. When Gary’s tenant missed two payments of rent, Gary gave the tenant a breach notice and 14 days in which to bring his rent up to date. The tenant didn’t pay any rent during this two week period and so Gary issued the tenant with a notice to vacate the premises. The date the tenant was supposed to leave the property was another week after the notice had been given. By this stage the tenant had not paid rent for five weeks.

The tenant did not move out of the premises and so Gary had to apply to the Magistrates Court for a termination notice. After he filed his application with the court, Gary had to wait two weeks for his first court date. This date was before a Registrar of the court who would try to negotiate an agreement between the landlord and the tenant. When he attended the session, Gary was told by the Registrar that if the parties could not reach an agreement on that day, they would have to come back another day to appear before a Magistrate and they could be waiting more than three weeks for this. So at the meeting with the Registrar and the tenant, the tenant said that he did not want to move and could catch up on the rent. Gary agreed to allow the tenant another 28 days to bring the rent up to date and if he did not, the tenant agreed to move out at this time.

After the 28 days, the tenant had not paid any rent and did not move out as he had promised. This meant Gary had to make another application to the court to get an order to have the tenant evicted. This took many more weeks. In all, it took 12 weeks to evict the tenant, during which time the tenant had not paid any rent.

Has this happened to you? Tell us your story Is there a better way to deal with a tenant not paying their rent?

It's easy to have your say

We are keen to hear your feedback, your renting story and any issues you know about that affect your community, even if they're not related to topics addressed in the discussion paper. If it's important to you, it's important to us!

We invite you to submit your feedback by email to consultations@dmirs.wa.gov.au

or by post to

Residential Tenancies Act Consultation
Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (Consumer Protection Division)
Locked Bag 100
East Perth WA 6892

Submissions will be accepted up until 5pm, Friday 1 May 2020.

How your feedback will be used

Your feedback will help us understand your thoughts on tenancy in Western Australia and will help us develop policy that may be put into law. Submissions will be treated as public documents, unless explicitly requested otherwise.

If you do not consent to your submission being treated as a public document, you should mark it as confidential, or specifically identify the confidential information, and include an explanation.

Please note, even if your submission is treated as confidential by Consumer Protection, it may still be disclosed in accordance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act 1992 (WA), or any other applicable written law.

Consumer Protection reserves the right to delete any content that could be regarded as racially vilifying, derogatory or defamatory to an individual or an organisation.

A summary of feedback will be released publicly after the consultation period has closed.

Enquiries

Enquiries can be made by calling the Consumer Protection Advice Line on 1300 304 054 or by email.

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