Tenant rights on the rise in WA

Tenant rights have been strengthened in Western Australia with a raft of new laws which came into force on 1 July 2013.
The laws:
  • forbid property managers to demand rent be paid monthly instead of fortnightly
  • regulate the use of residential tenancy databases — listings must be removed after three years, tenants must be notified if they are listed and tenants cannot be listed if the amount owed is less than the bond
  • forbid rent rises during a fixed term unless they are specified in the initial lease
  • ban rent rises during the first 30 days of a renewed tenancy
  • specify what locks and lights are needed to provide “reasonable” security
  • make condition reports compulsory
  • cap “option fees” tenants pay to apply to rent a property in WA at $50 or $100 for most properties
  • set a maximum of four routine inspections per year
  • make compulsory the lodgement of bonds with the Bond Administrator
The changes come against a backdrop of a tight rental market where rents are rising and tenants are sometimes offering more than the asking rent to secure a property.
There are also a handful of landlord-friendly changes, including the right to increase bonds as rent rises and the right to ask for a pet bond for any pet capable of carrying parasites (not just dogs and cats) which can affect humans.
Western Australian Commerce Minister Michael Mischin said the changes were designed to make the property rental market fairer and more accessible.