28 March, 2024

Bill is set to ease rent

A new bill was introduced to parliament on Thursday, March 21, hoping to make renting easier and fairer.

Bill is set to ease rent - feature photo

The Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2024 (the Bill) will make law a number of actions outlined in the government’s housing blueprint, including: banning all forms of rent bidding; requiring bond claims to be supported by evidence; protecting renters’ privacy by requiring a minimum 48 hours’ entry notice; setting up a prescribed form to be used to apply for a rental home, with any information collected to be handled securely; limiting reletting costs based on how long is left on a fixed term lease; giving renters a fee-free option to pay rent and choice about how they apply for a rental property.

The Bill will establish a head of power to establish a rental sector code of conduct, a framework for parties to agree on installing modifications in rental properties and a portable bond scheme.

It will also amend laws to attach the 12-month limit on rent increases to the property instead of the tenancy, to help stabilise rents and provide more certainty for renters.

To make sure reforms are enforced, the Bill will also put the focus of Residential Tenancies Authority’s role on administering and enforcing rental reforms.

Housing Minister Meaghan Scanlon said, “These reforms are about making renting fairer, safer and easier.

“Renters won’t have to find additional money for a new bond when they move, and they won’t have to bid more than advertised on a rental.

“Renters will have their privacy protected and a new code of conduct will stamp out dodgy and unprofessional practices.”

The Bill delivers on a raft of National Cabinet commitments under A Better Deal for Renters, including prescribing a rental application form, limiting what information can be requested from a prospective renter and limiting reletting costs.

The Bill builds on reforms introduced in 2021, including: Ending without grounds evictions, strengthening protections for renters against retaliatory actions; setting minimum housing standards; making it easier for renters to have a pet; giving renters experiencing domestic and family violence the right to end their tenancy with limited liability for end of lease costs.

Following its introduction, the Bill has been referred to the parliament’s Cost of Living committee ahead of debate in parliament later this year.

Further information: Anyone who needs housing assistance can contact their local Housing Service Centre during business hours or call the 24/7 Homeless Hotline on 1800 474 753.


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