The ACT Government is leading the way in strengthening renters’ rights by becoming the first Australian jurisdiction to remove all forms of tenancy termination without a legitimate cause.
Welcoming the passage of rental reforms through the ACT Legislative Assembly today, Attorney‑General Shane Rattenbury said the changes will give tenants greater security of tenure as they will no longer need to fear being evicted without reason.
“It’s important that people who rent feel like their house is a home. Rental conditions in the ACT are already very challenging, with rising rents and limited supply.” Mr Rattenbury said.
Under these reforms, no cause evictions will be removed from the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 from 1 April 2023.
“We have heard from the community that no cause evictions have a profoundly negative impact on renters, either because of the eviction itself, or because it stops renters being able to raise other legitimate concerns out of fear of eviction.
“In a nation leading move, the ACT Government has also made an important change that eliminates ‘end of fixed term tenancy terminations’. Ending this type of eviction practice means that renters cannot be kicked out of their homes without reason simply because their lease has expired.
“This means that the ACT will become the first jurisdiction to put an end to evictions without cause altogether.
Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury said the changes will balance the concerns of renters and landlords.
“These laws remain balanced by still recognising that landlords will at times need to end tenancies for genuine reasons, such as selling the property, or when a tenant breaches the agreement.”
“Ending no cause evictions has been a long term ACT Greens commitment and I’m pleased these changes will commence in Canberra in the coming weeks.” Mr Rattenbury said.
In addition to the removal of ‘no cause’ evictions, several other rental reforms will come into effect, including:
- Prohibiting landlords and agents from asking for or encouraging rent bids
- Allowing tenants greater freedom to grow their own food and to compost, and
- Creating a framework to support the future introduction of minimum housing standards for rental properties.
Previously, prospective tenants could be asked to offer more than the advertised price for a rental property, known as solicited rent bidding. Under the reforms, landlords or agents will no longer be able to ask for or encourage rent bids.
The reforms also strengthen tenants’ rights to grow food and to compost food waste.
Lastly, the reforms make changes to support the introduction of minimum housing standards.
Landlords will now be required to notify prospective tenants about whether a property meets minimum standards. If a property doesn’t meet a minimum housing standard, tenants will be allowed to seek a rent reduction, compensation or end the tenancy. The law will also now give landlords a right to access the rental property if they need to upgrade it to meet a minimum standard.
“The Government engaged with stakeholders, including landlords, tenants, real estate agents and industry associations, throughout the reform process with community consultations conducted in 2021 and 2022,” Attorney-General Rattenbury said.
Bernadette Barrett from Better Renting expressed her joy and relief with the ACT Government’s passage of rental reforms through the Legislative Assembly, describing the ban on ‘no-cause’ evictions as a significant victory for renters and advocates in the region who have long been advocating for these changes.
“Removing the ability of landlords to evict tenants without good reason will provide greater stability and security to renters in their homes,” Barrett said. “This change will also empower renters to better advocate for their rights without fear of retaliation, giving them more power to negotiate with landlords and push for necessary repairs or changes to their living arrangements and allowing them to create a better sense of home.”
Barrett also praised the creation of a framework to support the introduction of further minimum housing standards for rental properties, stating that this move would provide renters with healthier and safer living conditions.
“The reforms are a welcome step towards ensuring that all renters in the ACT have access to stable and healthy homes,” she said.
The reform to end no cause evictions deliver on the Government’s commitment in the Parliamentary and Governing Agreement for the 10th Legislative Assembly.
Information about the rental reforms can be found here → https://www.justice.act.gov.au/renting-and-occupancy-laws/reforms-to-tenancy-and-occupancy-laws-in-2022