Residential tenancy reforms introduced to Parliament - Landlords bulletin 71
29 Novemeber 2023
Residential tenancy reforms introduced to Parliament
The West Australian Government has today introduced legislation into Parliament which proposes a series of residential tenancy law reforms that will directly affect landlords, property managers and real estate agents.
- Tenants will be allowed to keep pets with the landlord only able to refuse in certain circumstances (for example where having a pet is prohibited by a strata by-law) or with the approval of the Commissioner for Consumer Protection. The scope of the pet bond will be expanded so that it can be used to fix damage or undertake cleaning required because of the pet. Landlords will be able to place conditions on the tenant keeping a pet.
- Tenants will be allowed to make certain minor modifications to the rental property, with the landlord only able to refuse in certain circumstances or with the approval of the Commissioner for Consumer Protection. A list of minor modifications will be prescribed and may include things like installing flyscreens, a water-saving shower head or a vegetable garden. Unless otherwise agreed, tenants would need to restore the premises to its original condition at the end of the tenancy or compensate the landlord for restoration costs. Landlords will be able to place conditions on the minor modifications in certain circumstances.
- Rent increases will be limited to once every 12 months.
- The bond disposal process will be easier by allowing landlords and tenants to separately start the application process for the release of the bond.
- Most disputes relating to bonds, pets and minor modifications will be determined by the Commissioner for Consumer Protection rather than the Magistrate's Court.
- Tenants will be able to apply to the Magistrate's Court for relief when the landlord takes retaliatory action against the tenant enforcing their rights.
- Any person (including landlords, and real estate agents and property managers) will be prohibited from encouraging tenants to offer a higher rent to secure a property - known as rent bidding.
Note: The Government decided not to remove the ‘without grounds terminations’ clause due to current market conditions.
What happens next?
The Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill 2023 will be considered by Parliament in early 2024, with the reforms coming into effect in stages, beginning early 2024. Changes to the Bill may occur while it is being considered in Parliament.
Consumer Protection will provide updated information on commencement of the new laws as the legislation progresses through Parliament.
Full details of the Residential Tenancies Act review are available on the Consumer Protection website. A review of the Residential Tenancies Act 1987 (WA) includes research and feedback that led to the reforms.
Email additional queries to firstname.lastname@example.org