Residential Tenancy reforms introduced to Parliament - Tenants bulletin 45
29 November 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 tenants.
- Tenants will be allowed to keep pets. Landlords will be able to place conditions on the tenant keeping the pet but will only be able to refuse a request in specific circumstances, 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 for repairs or cleaning required because of a pet.
- Tenants will be allowed to make certain ‘minor modifications’ to their rental property, with the landlord only able to refuse in specific circumstances or with the approval of the Commissioner for Consumer Protection. Landlords will be able to place conditions on the modifications in certain circumstances.
- 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 at the end of their tenancy or pay the landlord for restoration costs.
- Rent increases will be limited to once every 12 months.
- The bond disposal process will be easier, 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 if the landlord takes retaliatory action against the tenant enforcing their rights.
- Landlords, 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.
The Government has decided not to proceed with the proposal to remove ‘without grounds termination’ at present due to current market conditions.
What's 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.
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