Big Changes Coming to Wa’s Rental Laws

A wave of significant changes are approaching the rental landscape in Western Australia, as the government is set to revamp the Residential Tenancies Act. The core purpose of these reforms is twofold: to offer tenants greater protection and to provide landlords with clearer, more transparent guidelines.

What are the proposed changes?
  1. Tenants will be allowed to keep pets unless there are reasonable grounds for the landlord to refuse.
  2. Rent increases will be limited to once every 12 months for both periodic and fixed-term tenancies.
  3. Tenants will be allowed to make minor alterations with the landlord's consent. Landlords can only refuse such requests for specific reasons. This means you, as a tenant, can tailor your space for comfort, while ensuring respect for the landlord’s investment.
  4. The process for releasing security bonds at the end of a tenancy will be simplified from the current process which is time-consuming and needs to be settled by a magistrate. This new simplified process allows both tenants and property owners to separately apply regarding the distribution of bond payments.
  5. Disputes regarding bond payments, pets, or minor modifications will be referred to the Commissioner for Consumer Protection for final determination, rather than being directed to the Magistrates Court, which can be a lengthy process.
  6. Landlords and real estate agents will no longer be allowed to encourage rent bidding, thereby ensuring fair rental practices. Rents will only be able to be advertised at a fixed amount and not a price range.
When will they come into effect?

The next step is to draft the legislative amendments and regulations. The Government plans to present them to Parliament by the end of this year. If all goes well, these new laws will be up and running in the second half of 2024. Until then, everything will carry on as it is now. REIWA will be actively engaging with the Government to fine-tune the specifics of these proposed reforms.

Other things to consider:

Keep in mind, there won't be any alterations to the ‘no grounds for termination’ policy. This means property owners will retain the ability to conclude a tenancy without having to provide a specific reason, maintaining the existing balance of rules and processes around ending a tenancy.

In a move to bolster tenants’ support system, the WA government has pledged an annual funding increase of $4.5 million for the forthcoming two fiscal years. These funds will be channelled to tenancy advocates and community groups to provide much-needed advice and support for WA tenants. The 35% surge in funding will be dispersed through the Tenant Advocacy and Education Services (TAES) program.

More questions? REIWA is in the process of unpacking the details around these reforms, expected to come into effect in 2024. For further insights and updates, check out their official page here.

get in touch with us