Family violence tenancy laws coming soon - Tenants bulletin issue 4
18 March 2019
Family violence tenancy laws coming soon
Renters affected by family and domestic violence (FDV) will soon have new options. We're pleased to say an amendment to Western Australia's tenancy laws in relation to family and domestic violence was passed last month (February).
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 to understand what this means for renters in WA:
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 released.
The official forms will be available at www.safetenancy.wa.gov.au when the laws come into effect. Once they’re available, if you were to provide a landlord or property manager with the correct form and evidence they cannot not dispute whether family violence has occurred.
We’ve also been working with Tenancy WA who’re creating new factsheets specifically for tenants, including tenants who are excluded from a rental home under the new laws. Those factsheets will also be uploaded to our website.
FDV evidence confidential!
Rest assured that when the new laws do commence any evidence of family violence provided by a tenant to a landlord, property manager (PM) or real estate agent (REA) must be kept confidential and stored securely by them. This means that while the landlord or property manager must give a copy of the termination notice to any other co-tenants, they must not give the co-tenants 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 this obligation is met because we are very aware that a landlord, PM or REA revealing FDV evidence information to anyone else, such as a perpetrator or co-tenant, can put a victim’s life at risk.
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