26 September 2023

Tenants win as no-cause evictions to become law

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Tenants in the ACT’s tough rental market have welcomed the Territory’s commitment to remove no cause evictions from residential tenancy agreements, according to a new report from the Justice & Community Safety Directorate.

Commenting on the report, Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury said it summarised the feedback from renters, tenancy advocates, landlords and real estate agents on four proposed reforms to the Residential Tenancy Act 1997.

Along with an end to no cause evictions, Mr Rattenbury said the proposed reforms included prohibiting rent bidding, minimum standards for rental properties, and freedoms for tenants to grow their own food and to compost.

“While there were mixed views from tenants, landlords and real estate agents on the removal of no cause evictions, the majority of respondents agreed that with the removal of no cause evictions, new termination clauses would be needed to support landlords to manage their properties,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“Tenants told us about the fear, expense, and uncertainty of receiving a no cause eviction notice and the disruption that it can cause to their lives,” he said.

“They told us that ending no cause evictions will make them feel more secure in their homes.”

With regard to rent bidding, Mr Rattenbury said most respondents (including landlords, agents and tenants) agreed that landlords or agents should be prevented from asking a prospective tenant to pay more than the advertised price for a rental property.

“However, views on whether tenants should be prevented from offering to pay more than the advertised price for a property were more mixed,” the Attorney-General said.

“There was also strong overall support for reforms which would make it easier for tenants to grow food at their rental property with 62.5 per cent of the total survey responses either agreeing or strongly agreeing the reforms should go ahead.”

He said the Directorate’s consultation also sought community views on which minimum standards should be prioritised for implementation, including amenity, safety and security, physical accessibility, and sanitation.

Mr Rattenbury said minimum standards for safety and security were identified as the highest priority, followed closely by minimum standards for sanitation.

“Government will draft a bill for public exposure and introduce the bill into the ACT Legislative Assembly in late 2022,” he said.

The Directorate’s 11-page Listening Report can be accessed at this PS News link.

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