TenantsTips / Australia / Tougher Rental Laws Proposed for Western Australia.

Tougher Rental Laws Proposed for Western Australia.

Planned amendments to Western Australia's Residential Tenancy Act, due to be introduced next year have drawn howls of criticism from the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA).

The regulations, introduced by Liberal MP Simon O'Brien will require every rental property to have a minimum of a single deadbolt on every front and back door as well as locks on all other external doors and windows.

Liberal backbencher Michael Sutherland wrote to Mr O'Brien on behalf of his constituents complaining that the Liberal party, which is supposed to encourage free enterprise, is over regulating and introducing too much red tape. Interestingly, these laws are much less tough than the ones that the Government had originally considered introducing to Parliament.

This has not lessened the criticism of MPs such as Mr Sutherland and the members of REIWA. In fact, informal advice from REIWA has suggested that the costs of complying may cost some landlords up to $1500 and that these costs might be passed on to tenants.

A Perth real estate agent, Paul Collins, is also bemused by the changes to the existing legislation. He stated that in thirty years of managing rental properties he could only remember one incident of a person requesting more secure locks. According to Mr Collins this was sorted out very easily when the landlord responded quickly to the tenant's request.

The obvious question, given the expense and apparent lack of demand, is why are these changes being made in the first place? Mr O'Brien stated that the Government's response came as a result of feedback that was provided when the Act was being reviewed.

There were two key reasons that led to the proposed changes.

First, domestic violence groups said that changes that provided better security were essential for protecting vulnerable members of society, particularly woman and children who had been abused or were at risk of abuse. The second reason was that many tenants were unable to obtain contents insurance because the property being rented did not have adequate security.

The second point is interesting in light of the REIWA claim that the new regulations meant that the security levels of rented premises would exceed those of the average home owner. Clearly if this was the case even home owners would be unable to get contents insurance. Therefore this does not seem to be a particularly valid criticism.


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