Proposed reforms to create fairer, safer rental system in Canberra

Australian Greens

Canberrans are encouraged to have their say regarding rental reforms in the ACT with a discussion paper on residential tenancy reforms released today.

The ACT Government is seeking input on four proposed residential tenancy reforms to the Residential Tenancies Act 1997:

  • ending no cause evictions;
  • placing restrictions on rent bidding;
  • setting clear minimum standards for rental properties; and
  • allowing tenants greater freedom to grow their own food and to compost.

“Everyone deserves a safe and secure place to live,” Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury said. “Almost a third of Canberrans rent, so we want to turn rental properties from a house into a real home. We are exploring four reforms to help create a fairer, safer rental system for all Canberrans.”

Ending no cause evictions

“Currently, landlords can evict a tenant on a month-to-month lease with six months’ notice without cause,” Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury. “Removing no cause terminations will give tenants certainty their tenancy can only be ended for a proper reason, as well as giving them greater confidence that they will be able to assert their rights under the agreement without fear that this may lead to their eviction. This will create security of tenure for renters and stop retaliatory evictions.”

Restrictions on rent bidding

“At present, there is no legislation that prevents a landlord or agent from telling a prospective tenant that someone else has made a better offer and asking them if they want to outbid that person,” Attorney-General Rattenbury said.

“This can be particularly problematic in the tight housing market as it increases rents. It is also not transparent and can waste potential renters’ time. While there has not been obvious evidence of this practice occurring regularly in the ACT, we want to hear from Canberrans about why and if rent bidding needs to be regulated.”

Minimum standards

“While the ACT currently has basic minimum standards for rental properties, these can be improved and made clearer. Minimum standards can relate to accessibility, amenity, security and sanitation. The ACT Government has already commenced work to introduce minimum standards in relation to energy efficiency and started consultation on that element of minimum standards.

“At this time, we’d like to hear from both landlords and tenants about any minimum standards they believe should be introduced in the ACT and how should they be implemented.”

Greater freedom for tenants to grow their own food

“Many tenants enjoy growing their own food and composting, and we are looking at how we can strengthen renters’ rights to create vegetable gardens and composts, provided they agree to restore the property to its original condition when the lease ends. We want to know whether Canberrans think the law should be amended to introduce more rights for tenants to grow food and to compost.”

To have a say on these changes, visit https://yoursayconversations.act.gov.au/expanding-rights-renters

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