WA Rental Reforms

Understanding the Recent Changes in Western Australia Rent Reforms

Recent changes in the Western Australia Rent Reforms are set to impact rental properties across the region. These reforms aim to create a more balanced and transparent rental market by enhancing the rights and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants. Implemented in three stages over the next year, these changes are designed to ensure a smooth transition for all parties involved.

Stage 1 (Commenced):

  • Rent bidding ban
  • Retaliatory action

Stage 2 (Late July 2024):

  • Rent increases at 12-month intervals
  • Pets welcome
  • Minor modifications
  • Commissioner determinations
  • Updates to forms

Stage 3 (Early 2025):

  • Streamlined bond release process

Source: (DEMIRS)

Stage 1:

Rent Bidding

Landlords and their agents will also be forbidden from requesting or pressuring prospective tenants to pay more than the listed rent. Additionally, rental properties must be advertised or offered at a fixed amount and not in a range or “from” a particular amount.

Retaliatory action

Tenants who believe their landlord or agent is retaliating against them for exercising their rental rights can challenge such actions in the Magistrate’s Court.

Stage 2:

Rent increases at 12-month intervals

Rent increases will be permitted once annually, with no more frequent adjustments allowed.

Fixed Term Lease: At the end of the current term, any rent increases specified in the existing agreement will remain in effect until the term concludes. If the agreement is renewed or rolled over, at least 12 months must have passed since the last rent increase.

Periodic: Changes will take effect from the commencement date. There must be a minimum of 12 months since the last rent increase.

Pets welcome

Tenants will be able to keep pets but must first ask permission. Landlords can say no in some cases, but some will require Commissioner approval.

Minor modifications

Tenants will be allowed to make minor modifications to the property, but they remain responsible for any associated costs or damages. A definitive list of these minor modifications is currently being developed and is expected to be published later this month.

Landlords have the right to refuse permission for modifications in cases where:

  1. Written law or scheme by-law specifically preventing the change
  2. Modifications that would disturb asbestos
  3. Your property is heritage-listed

There were still many details, such as those regarding modifications, that had to be prescribed by Regulations and REIWA would continue to engage with Government on these matters to ensure they met the needs of the community and supported investment.

REIWA CEO Cath Hart 

Commissioner determinations

All commissioner determinations will be able to be submitted in an online process:

  • All parties are invited to submit evidence.
  • The Commissioner will decide based on the submitted documents.
  • Written reasons for the decision will be provided.
  • Either party may appeal to the Magistrates Court within 7 days.
  • The Commissioner may defer complex matters to be decided by the court.

Updates to forms

The mandatory residential tenancy forms are being revised to incorporate the reforms, which include:

  • Written tenancy agreement (Forms 1AA)
  • Information for tenants (Forms 1AC and 1AD)

Landlords and property managers must ensure they use the latest versions of these forms to comply with the updated regulations.

Stage 3:

Streamlined bond release process

A streamlined bond release process will simplify procedures and reduce court disputes:

  • Any tenant, landlord, or agent can initiate a bond release request through the Bonds Online system.
  • The Bond Administrator will notify all parties involved about the application. If consensus is reached, the bond will be released.
  • In cases where landlords and tenants cannot agree, the Commissioner will oversee the determination process.

In summary, the upcoming three-stage Western Australia Rent Reforms are poised to foster a fairer and more transparent rental market, benefiting both landlords and tenants.

For more information get in touch with the Real People at Real Property WA.