Tenant and Landlord rental rights after recent reforms in Australian States

Aug 24, 2023 | Finance, News and Updates, Property Investing, Purchasing Property

The rental market is constantly changing and the past 12 months has been no different.

For both landlords and tenants, rent reviews play a crucial role in the rental market. Rent reviews determine whether the rental income aligns with the current market conditions and inflation rates, while also ensuring a fair return for landlords and reasonable rent for tenants. In this updated blog, we’ll explore some of the recent reforms in different Australian states, shedding light on the evolving landscape of the rental market.

Banning Rent Bidding

One significant change that has occurred in recent times relates to the practice of rent bidding. Rent bidding involves inviting or soliciting offers for rent that exceed the advertised amount for a property. Several states have taken measures to ban rent bidding in order to promote transparency and fairness in the rental market. Here’s an overview of the changes:

  • NSW: Real estate agents in NSW have been prohibited from inviting or soliciting offers for rent higher than the advertised amount since December 17, 2022. The Rental Fairness Bill passed in June 2023 extended the ban to third-party platforms and property owners, going beyond just real estate agents.
  • ACT: As of April 2023, landlords and agents in the ACT can no longer solicit rent bids. Rental properties must now be advertised at a fixed rental rate, eliminating the practice of bidding.
  • WA: Western Australia is also moving towards prohibiting rent bidding. Landlords and property managers will no longer be allowed to pressure or encourage tenants to offer more than the advertised rent. Instead, rents will need to be advertised as a fixed amount rather than a range.
  • SA: South Australia is considering banning rent bidding as part of a series of proposed reforms aimed at promoting fairness and transparency in the rental market.

Limiting Rent Increases

Most states have or are in the process of putting in place restrictions to limit increases to once per year.

While there has been some debate about the introduction of rent freezes and rent caps in various jurisdictions, at the time of writing, no formal proposals to introduce such measures had been progressed in any state or territory.

Ending No Grounds Evictions

Another significant change in recent times is the move to end “no grounds” evictions, which allow landlords to evict tenants without a specific reason. Here’s a look at the evolving landscape:

  • QLD: From October 1, 2022, landlords in Queensland have needed a valid reason to evict tenants, effectively ending “no grounds” evictions.
  • ACT: The ACT abolished no grounds evictions on April 1, 2023, providing greater security for tenants.
  • SA: South Australia is considering changes to tenancy legislation that would require landlords to provide prescribed reasons for ending tenancy agreements.
  • NSW: Proposed reforms in New South Wales also aim to end no grounds evictions, contributing to tenant security.
  • WA: Unlike other states, Western Australia is retaining the option for “without grounds termination” due to current rental market conditions and to ensure certainty for landlords and investors.

Rent review time frames and regulations in the Australian rental market have evolved significantly due to recent reforms. Banning rent bidding, limiting rent increases, and ending no-grounds evictions are some of the key changes that aim to promote fairness, transparency, and stability for both landlords and tenants.

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