Family violence tenancy laws coming soon - Real estate industry bulletin 192
18 March 2019
Family violence tenancy laws coming soon
Family violence related changes to Western Australia’s tenancy laws will be implemented soon. Your Compulsory Professional Development training contained important information about these changes.
The amendments have been years in the making and have involved consultation with many organisations including REIWA.
A Bill was passed last month (February) and the Residential Tenancies Legislation Amendment (Family Violence) Act 2019 is now due to commence next month (April).
Watch our animated explainer video.
We know reading legislation can be daunting, so we’ve broken it down for you. Check out our five-minute video:
We anticipate these new laws will commence from 15 April 2019. From that date renters affected by family and domestic violence (FDV) will have new options to:
- Provide at least 7 days’ notice to exit a tenancy and leave right away for safety
- Apply to court to have a perpetrator’s name removed from a lease
- Make a rental home safer through lock changes or security upgrades
- Sort out disputes about property damage, unpaid rent or bonds
We’re currently drafting regulations and developing the new forms, such as the Notice of Termination and the Consumer Protection Family Violence Report – Evidence Form. Although draft versions of forms have been used in training exercises for various sector professionals, these are not to be used as the official forms are yet to be finalised.
The official forms will be available at www.safetenancy.wa.gov.au when the laws come into effect. If a tenant provides the correct form and evidence a real estate agent, property manager or landlord must not dispute whether family violence has occurred.
As the laws come into effect we’ll release another e-bulletin that links to a factsheet and additional information on our website.
Warning to keep FDV evidence confidential!
When the new laws commence it’s important to remember that you must keep any evidence of family violence provided by a tenant confidential and store it in a secure manner. This means that while you must give a copy of the termination notice to any other co-tenants, you must not give them or anyone else a copy of the restraining order, family court order or report of family violence.
The penalty for failing to comply with this obligation can result in a fine of up to $5,000.
Consumer Protection will be ensuring real estate agents, property managers and landlords comply with this obligation because revealing FDV evidence information to anyone else, such as a perpetrator or co-tenant, may put a victim’s life at risk.
You are encouraged to review your policies and procedures in light of this.
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