WA Rental Reforms: A Guide for Landlords (Stage One & Beyond)

WA Rental Reforms: A Guide for Landlords (Stage One & Beyond)

Western Australia's Residential Tenancies Act received a significant update in May 2024, and the changes are rolling out in stages. As a landlord, it's important to stay informed about these reforms to ensure you're compliant and maintain a smooth relationship with your tenants.

This blog post will guide you through the key changes implemented in Stage One (effective between May 2024 and early 2025). We'll also provide a glimpse into what Stages 2 and 3 might hold.

Stage One Changes:

  • Rent Bidding Ban: As of May 16, 2024, it's illegal advertise a rental property and then encourage tenants to offer more during the application process. However, tenants can still choose to offer more than the advertised rent if they wish.
  • Protection from Retaliatory Action: Effective May 16, 2024, tenants have legal recourse if they believe a landlord or property manager has increased their rent or terminated their tenancy in retaliation for exercising their rights (e.g. requesting repairs).
  • Yearly Rent Increases: Expected by July 2024, rent can only be increased once every 12 months for a particular property, regardless of the lease term. This provides tenants with greater financial stability.
  • Pet-Friendly Rentals (with Conditions): Likely taking effect in July 2024, tenants generally have the right to keep pets in your rental property, provided they obtain your permission. You can only refuse a pet request for valid reasons, such as specific strata bylaws against pets or a lack of secure fencing in the yard. If a tenant disagrees with your refusal, they can take the matter to Consumer Protection for mediation.
  • Minor Modifications Allowed: Also expected in July 2024, tenants can make minor modifications to the property with your prior consent. This could include hanging pictures, installing shelves, or planting a veggie patch. The key point is that the modifications should be easily reversible at the end of the tenancy. Disputes regarding modifications will be settled by the Consumer Protection commissioner, not the courts.
  • Simplified Bond Release: The bond release process is planned to be streamlined sometime between January and July 2025. Disputes will be handled by the Consumer Protection commissioner, eliminating the need for court appearances. Landlords and tenants will be able to make separate online submissions regarding bond disbursement.

Stages 2 & 3: A Look Ahead

While details for Stages 2 and 3 haven't been officially released, the WA government is focusing on areas that may impact the rental market, such as:

  • Landlord/Agent Disclosures: The type of information landlords and property managers must provide potential renters before offering a lease agreement.
  • Tenant Information Requests: The information landlords are allowed to request from potential renters during the application process.
  • Minimum Rental Property Standards: Establishing minimum standards for rental properties to ensure they are safe, habitable, and meet basic health and safety requirements.
  • Maintenance and Repair Regulations: Clearer guidelines on the responsibilities of both landlords and tenants regarding maintenance and repairs.
  • Damage Responsibility: Clarification on the tenant's responsibility for deliberate damage to the rental property.
  • Boarding house Regulations: Regulations for boarding houses, lodging houses, and room-by-room rentals.

We'll be sure to keep you updated on any developments regarding Stages 2 and 3.

Staying Informed & Compliant

As a landlord, it's crucial to stay informed about the WA rental reforms to ensure you're complying with the law and avoiding potential disputes with your tenants. Here are some helpful resources:

We recommend familiarising yourself with the Stage One changes and keeping an eye out for updates on Stages 2 and 3.

Our property managers are happy to answer any questions you may have. Please feel free to contact the team on 08 6500 0200.