WA tenancy law changes ‘strike a balance’

WA tenancy law changes ‘strike a balance’

Posted on Friday, May 10 2013 at 4:07 PM

New laws will make renting fairer for tenants in Western Australia and also protect the interests of property investors, the State Government says.

Legislative changes will come into force on
July 1 and deliver a new framework covering agreements, security bonds,
property condition reports and tenancy databases.

Commerce Minister Michal Mischin says the
changes are important in the current rental market, which is characterised by
growing demand and constrained supply.

Rental application fees will be limited to
either $50 and $100, reducing upfront costs imposed on prospective tenants, he

“The fees must be refunded within seven
days if an applicant is unsuccessful,” he says. “Also, tenants won’t be forced
to pay more than a fortnight’s rent in advance, which will help ease the
financial pressures of renting a home in WA.”

Property condition reports will now be
compulsory at the beginning and end of each lease period, aiming to reduce
disputes over the return of bond money.

Mischin says there have been numerous
complaints to the state’s Consumer Protection authority regarding the refund of

“All new tenant security bonds will need to
be deposited with the Bond Administrator at the Department of Commerce, which
will release bond money according to the disposal arrangements agreed to
between the property owner and a tenant, or according to a ruling by a
Magistrates Court.

“Existing bonds will need to be transferred
upon renewal of the (current) tenancy agreement.”

A standard tenancy agreement will now be
available. They include provisions for minimum levels of window and door
security to ensure safety, he says.

Another change to the law surrounds the
issue of tenancy databases, which are sometimes used to check a prospective
renter’s history and assist owners in assessing applications.

“(The databases) will be more transparent,
with tenants given access to their information and a process to challenge
inaccurate or outdated information.”

The reforms were the result of consultation
with a variety of stakeholders and members of the community, he says.

“They will create a fairer rental market
that balances the rights and interests of both tenants and property owners.”

Information on tenancy laws is available at

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