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  • Writer's pictureWendy I Emerald Property Estate

Understanding the New RTA Reforms: Insights from REIWA CEO Cath Hart

The recent introduction of the Amendment Bill to the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) by the Cook Government marks a significant moment in the Western Australian property landscape. These changes, long expected and previously communicated by REIWA, are set to reshape the rules governing rental properties and tenancy agreements.

As CEO of REIWA, Cath Hart provides a detailed overview of the reforms and their implications for tenants and property owners. Here’s what you need to know about the upcoming changes, set to be implemented in stages starting early to mid-next year:

Key Changes in the Amendment Bill:

  1. Banning Rent Bidding: This reform aims to make the rental process more transparent and fair for tenants.

  2. Annual Rent Increase Limit: Rent increases will be restricted to once per year, providing more stability for tenants.

  3. Improved Dispute Resolution Process: The Bill introduces changes to streamline and improve the handling of disputes.

  4. Pets in Rental Properties: New provisions will allow tenants to keep pets, subject to the landlord's consent, under certain conditions.

  5. Modifications to Rental Properties: The Bill outlines tenants' rights to make modifications, the consent process, and conditions that landlords can impose.

  6. Protection Against Retaliatory Action: This includes measures to safeguard tenants from unfair lease terminations by landlords, particularly in cases where a tenant makes a complaint or enforces their rights.

  7. Handling of Bonds: The Bill addresses the disposal of bonds, adding clarity to this aspect of the tenancy agreement.

Specifics on Pets and Property Modifications:

  • Pets: The Bill includes provisions for a pet bond to cover potential damages or cleaning needs arising from pets. Tenants will bear responsibility for any nuisance or damage caused by their pets, which won’t be considered as fair wear and tear.

  • Property Modifications: Tenants can make minor modifications with the owner's consent. The definition of ‘minor modifications’ is yet to be determined and will be clarified in the upcoming Regulations.

Key Advocacy and Concerns:

REIWA has actively engaged in discussions about these reforms, advocating especially for the need for tenants to restore any modifications at the end of their tenancy. While the improvements in the dispute resolution process are welcome, REIWA has expressed some concerns regarding the implementation of these reforms and is committed to providing feedback and ensuring adequate funding for the process.

These reforms represent a significant shift in the rental landscape of Western Australia. As we navigate these changes, it’s important for both tenants and landlords to stay informed and understand their rights and responsibilities under the new legislation.

For a more detailed summary of these key issues and to stay updated on the progress of these reforms, please visit REIWA’s dedicated section on this topic.

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