Targeted reforms to improve rental affordability

The Malinauskas Labor Government is delivering targeted reforms to rental laws and financial support in South Australia, which will help make renting more affordable.

As part of its plan for A Better Housing Future, the State Government is:

*Providing Private Rental Assistance to more South Australians, delivering up to $4,800 in additional support per household

*Making residential tenancy bonds more affordable, saving a renter of a median priced house in Adelaide $930 in upfront payments

*Banning rent bidding

*Protecting tenants’ rights and information

The Private Rental Assistance Program covers the cost of bonds and up to four weeks’ rent over two years, subject to specific eligibility criteria being met.

The eligibility criteria will be broadened so that the household cash assets test limit is increased from $5,000 to $62,150 per household and the weekly rent limit will be increased from $450 to $600 per week.

It is estimated an additional 400 households will be eligible for the program as a result of these changes. The amount of support provided varies according to a tenant’s income and circumstances, with eligible tenants receiving up to a maximum of $4,800 in support.

Currently, landlords can claim a bond worth up to six weeks’ rent where the weekly rent is greater than $250. The bond threshold will now be raised to $800 to ensure that for most rental properties, only a four-week bond will be required.

This will save renters between $500 and $1,600 in upfront costs when they rent a property, with a renter of a median priced house in Adelaide saving $930 on their bond.

The government is banning the practice of rent bidding. Landlords will no longer be able to advertise properties with a rent range, put properties up for rent auction, or solicit offers over the advertised rental price.

This reform brings South Australia in line with other Australian jurisdictions which have introduced restrictions on rent bidding.

Landlords will also be prohibited from requesting prescribed information from potential tenants.

For successful tenant applications, information provided for the purposes of applying to enter into a tenancy agreement will need to be destroyed within 3 years of the tenancy ending.


Attributable to Peter Malinauskas

It is clear the rental market is becoming more challenging for low-income earners, with rising rents squeezing more renters out of the market.

Our reforms are about lowering upfront costs to make it easier for more renters to enter the market, while also levelling the playing field so that low-income households aren’t at a disadvantage.

These reforms will provide more assistance to more people so they can secure a rental and stop those on the margins, including vulnerable families, falling into homelessness.

Attributable to Stephen Mullighan

Housing is under significant pressure and many tenants have been doing it tough.

These significant changes are designed to ease some of the financial pressure on families while creating a fairer system.

Attributable to Andrea Michaels

I understand how tough the rental market is for South Australians with rental prices continuing to rise and Adelaide having one of the lowest rental vacancy rates in the nation.

Our reforms will provide targeted relief to households while also putting a stop to the practice of ‘rent bidding’, which is unfairly driving up prices and contributing to the current rental crisis by making it more and more difficult for South Australians to find affordable rental accommodation.

Attributable to Ariba, tenant.

I’ve experienced firsthand the frustrations of trying to find a rental in South Australia after moving here with my husband from Victoria in 2021.

I was disappointed to learn that SA had yet to modernise their Residential Tenancies Act, unlike other states, such as Victoria. At the time we were looking for a place to rent, we were living at a hotel, and we were in the middle of another COVID-19 wave in Victoria and SA were contemplating closing borders with them.

This added additional pressure to try to secure a rental so that we would be able to relocate to SA before the borders were closed, as living in a hotel was becoming financially unsustainable.

I often missed out on securing a property because other tenants offered more rent to pay when they submitted their application. It creates unfair advantage, and

also wastes tenant’s time, especially when they have to take time out of work hours to visit a place for inspection. It is fantastic to see the SA Government taking action to address these challenges and make the system fairer.

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