Commissioner’s Blog – Conversation is key to future renting

Penny Lipscombe, Consumer Protection
Penny Lipscombe, Consumer Protection, by CP Media

With Commissioner for Consumer Protection Penny Lipscombe

The clock is ticking on WA’s renting moratorium, which will see the ban on rent increases and some evictions being lifted when the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic emergency laws expire on 28 March 2021.

Consumer Protection is encouraging landlords and tenants to start a conversation now about what happens to their rental arrangements when the ordinary tenancy laws kick-in again after this date.

To help, Consumer Protection has developed a negotiating guide in consultation and collaboration with key industry stakeholders, including the Real Estate Industry of Western Australia (REIWA).

The ‘Future renting WA negotiating guide’ covers the many scenarios that could play out and examines the risks, benefits, considerations and pathways forward.

For example, should a landlord wish to keep the existing tenant, we advise they consider negotiating a rent increase that’s suitable and reasonable, while urging the tenant to only agree to pay what rent they can afford, and to think about how long they wish the rental term to be.

When discussing rent increases, it’s smart for tenants and landlords to investigate how much other properties in the area are being leased for, and to not solely rely on media reports for an indication of how their local market is performing.

The guide also examines the pros and cons of other situations, including if the landlord wishes to lease to a new tenant, should they want to move back into the property and if they want to sell.

Meanwhile, tenants are given information about what they should consider if they want to end the tenancy and move elsewhere.

Whichever position landlords and tenants are in, we believe that by negotiating now, they will be better prepared and have time to make plans for a safe and secure renting future.

For more details visit www.dmirs.wa.gov.au/covidrenting

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