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Better, fairer laws for renters in WA

More people are renting than ever before.

Once considered a transitional phase on the road to homeownership, the modern rental market is fast breaking this stereotype.

Thanks to housing prices continuing to rise out of sync with incomes, there are now approximately 750,000 people living in rental properties across Western Australia. At the last census, there were almost as many rental properties in WA (245,705) as there are private homes owned outright (247,050).

As housing prices continue to rise, more vulnerable people – including those on low-incomes, students, migrants, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, and those living with a disability or mental illness – depend on the rental market for their home, health and wellbeing.

Recent changes to the Residential Tenancies Act 1987 enable victims of family and domestic violence to have greater rights, flexibility and protection in their rental property. The McGowan Government is to be congratulated on these important changes.

However, there are many outstanding issues with rental accommodation that can be addressed in the current review of the Residential Tenancies Act 1987, which is currently underway.

Renting should not be a second rate housing option. There are many reasons why people choose to rent rather than purchase a home; it is not just that people are forced to do so. And for those who don’t have a choice, they should not be second-class citizens in their own home. It is essential that we level the playing field and make renting fair in WA.

#MakeRentingFairWA

Granddad and young child in garden

Many of us have stories of how challenging it can be to live in a rental property

Source – Unsettled: Life in Australia’s private rental market (2017)

50%

of renters fear being unfairly blacklisted

50%

of renters have been discriminated against

75%

of renters agree that competition amongst applicants for rental properties is fierce

83%

of renters have no long-term security

62%

are scared to ask for a longer lease

27%

of renters experienced issues with pests (e.g. cockroaches, moths, ants, etc.)

21%

of people have waited more than a week for urgent repairs

20%

of renters experienced issues with mould that is difficult to remove or reappears

18%

of renters reported that their homes were either difficult to keep warm or cool

14%

of renters have avoided making a complaint or requesting repairs for fear of adverse consequences such as rent increases, eviction, bad references, blacklisting and bullying