Aussie Greens Push for Enhanced Renter Rights, Simplified Charity, Recruiter Rules

Australian Greens

New laws will close a loophole to prevent landlords from being able to increase rents beyond the current legal limit once a tenant moves to a month-to-month tenancy, or where there are changes to the agreement - such as a housemate moving out. This will provide renters with fairer conditions and greater financial surety.

This new law was part of a tranche of proposals to reform the rental sector put forward in a Bill by ACT Greens MLA, Jo Clay earlier this year.

"We are in a housing crisis, and we know that the rental market is unfairly skewed towards landlords. The new laws passed today are just a few of the changes needed to provide greater housing security for renters," said Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury.

Under ACT law, rent increases are limited by a formula linked to the CPI for Canberra rents. The new laws will ensure that in all tenancies, landlords cannot impose an a greater rent increase unless the tenant agrees, or the Tribunal approves it. This will make rent increase laws simpler, consistent and easier to understand.

"Importantly, the Bill also allows victim-survivors of domestic and family violence to end tenancies quickly and without penalty. This will make it easier for people experiencing violence to change their housing arrangements where they need.

The legislation also supports share-housing arrangements by making procedural requirements around starting and ending a tenancy more flexible.

The Bill also makes a number of de-regulatory reforms for charities and recruitment companies

Other key changes include:

  • Implementing national fundraising principles: The ACT is meeting its commitment to reduce red tape for charities, to ensure the same fundraising rules apply across the country, allowing charities to focus on their vital work.
  • Removing licensing requirements for recruitment companies: As part of the ACT Government's Better Regulation Agenda, employment agents at recruitment companies will no longer require a licence to undertake their work. This will ease companies' financial and regulatory burden.
  • Enhanced consumer protections: The Commissioner for Fair Trading will be able to fine businesses and traders who fail to attend scheduled consumer conciliations for low value consumer claims (less than $5,000).

As stated by Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury:

"This legislation is about creating a fairer and more equitable ACT. We're removing unnecessary obstacles for charities and businesses while ensuring that renters, especially those escaping domestic violence, have the support and protection they need.

"We believe that everyone deserves a safe and secure home. These reforms demonstrate our commitment to building a stronger, fairer and more compassionate living and working environment for Canberrans."

"This legislation gives more tenants protection against excessive rent increases. The ACT is the only place in Australia where the law sets clear limits on how much landlords can increase the rent. We're protecting our most vulnerable and making renting simpler and fairer."

As stated by ACT Greens MLA, Jo Clay

"For a long time the ACT has had the best renters' rights in the country, but in a housing crisis we need to go further and faster. Today's amendments are a small change, but they do close a loophole which allowed rental prices to increase for many in a market already slanted against renters," said Ms Clay.

The Housing and Consumer Affairs Legislation Amendment Bill 2024 promotes a more efficient and equitable environment for renters, consumers, community groups and businesses.

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