Be part of tenancy law discussion

Tom ChapmanThe Kimberley Echo
Contracts must comply with tenancy laws.
Camera IconContracts must comply with tenancy laws. Credit: WA News

Laws that cover the renting of homes in WA are being fully reviewed for the first time in more than a decade, and Consumer Protection wants to hear from all tenants and landlords.

The marketplace has changed a lot since the last big review of the Residential Tenancies Act 1987.

We encourage the community to have a say to make lasting improvements to the legislation.

Questions we’re asking include whether tenants should be allowed to hang a family portrait on the wall, keep a pet or plant a vegie patch in the garden. Should landlords have to tell tenants if they intend to sell within the next 12 months, or if asbestos or meth residue is present?

An attitude shift may be needed when it comes to how we view investment properties and the maintenance of those homes for paying tenants who might be looking for a longer-term home.

We hear of tenants who are afraid to report problems for fear of eviction, while on the flipside there are horror stories where properties are trashed. Should Consumer Protection have powers to step in and prosecute tenants for an offence of wilful damage?

The review will consider whether landlords should be registered and if Consumer Protection should act as a mediator between owners and tenants, with powers to rule on tenancy disputes to resolve them more easily. The discussion paper closes on May 1, and issues include:

Security of tenure (guaranteeing tenants can stay and make a house their home).

Reasons for ending a tenancy/doing away with “no grounds” terminations.

Disclosure of important information before a tenancy begins.

Minimum standards for rental properties.

Liability for damage — fair wear and tear versus negligence.

Maximum bond amounts, payment of rent and other fees.

The right to keep pets and make minor modifications.

Regulation of boarding, lodging and room-by-room rental arrangements.

Visit or call 1300 304 054 for a mail-out.

Tom Chapman is the senior regional officer for Consumer Protection in the Kimberley.

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