Supporting a sustainable rental market

Elise Archer,Minister for Building and Construction

I am not surprised that the Greens feel that they have the right to control the private rental market.

In contrast, we are a government which wants to see markets function freely, while putting in the place the supports and assistance when required, and the Greens are the party that want to dictate how the private market operates.

We are supporting those people in our community who may be struggling, which is why our Government has provided one of the most generous assistance package to the private rental market to support both landlords and tenants with their hardship caused by COVID-19.

We have provided significant financial support to date – more than $3.6 million has been paid already to tenants and landlords accessing the support funds, representing 93% at last count of accumulated rent arrears repaid, and existing protections also exist regarding rent increases in the Residential Tenancy Act 1997, including:

  • a rent increase must be given in writing, with a minimum of 60 days’ notice before it is to take effect;
  • rent can only be increased once in a 12 month period; and
  • a tenant who considers that a rent increase is unreasonable can apply to the Residential Tenancy Commissioner for an order declaring the rent increase unreasonable.

As at 12 March 2021, the Residential Tenancy Commissioner had received just five applications for unreasonable rent increases, following the expiry of the emergency period on 31 January 2021 – which is a similar number to the same period last year.

As demonstrated by the introduction of the residential tenancy protections, our Government will introduce and amend legislation based on need and evidence where required.

I would encourage tenants who believe a rent increase to be unreasonable to apply to the Residential Tenancy Commissioner.

When assessing unreasonable rent increase applications the Commissioner already considers issues such as the value of the increase compared to the trend in similar suburbs or regions, the condition of the property and its maintenance by the owner, a property’s location and any other relevant factor which may increase or lower a property’s appeal.

The Greens are choosing to blindly ignore the unprecedented and significant support our Government has invested to date, to support landlords and tenants throughout the pandemic.

Our Government has taken strong and decisive actions to protect Tasmanians throughout COVID-19 and will continue to do so.

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