• Residential Tenancies Act 

    Residential Tenancies Act (Family Violence) Amendment Bill 2018 

    On 20 February 2019, the WA Government officially passed the Residential Tenancies Act (Family Violence) Amendment Bill designed to help victims of family violence leave tenancies in which they were unsafe.

    REIWA supports any policy measures that helps West Australians when most in need. As an industry, it's important that we do our bit to support those looking to escape family and domestic violence.

    While we have always been in support of introducing amendments that help victims of family violence leave dangerous situations, we believe it is important that property owners are protected by ensuring the new legislation can not be used without just cause. Through collaboration with the WA Government and various stakeholder groups, REIWA is proud to have secured vital safeguards that ensure only genuine victims of family violence can terminate a lease early. 

    We are pleased the WA Government has listened to the recommendations of the real estate industry by including a legally binding declaration in the prescribed forms. This means in cases where there has been no criminal charges laid, the victim will sign a declaration to reaffirm their claims, removing the need to go to court. This will also assist the prescribed professionals when completing the report in confidence.

    The declaration also carries significant penalties should the claimant be found to be making false statements. This will act as a hefty deterrent against the misuse of this legislation, which is designed to help only genuine victims of family violence. REIWA welcomes this outcome as an important step in the process towards reducing the burdens of the residential tenancy system on victims of family violence while also protecting the rights of property owners

    Overall, having this critical situation dealt with in a timely manner has significant benefits for both the tenant and the property owner and removes the long and costly court process for both parties.

    These ammendments are expected to come into into effect in April 2019.

    For more information about REIWA's position on these changes, contact REIWA Advocacy and Policy Manager Sadie Davidson at [email protected].

    Affixing furniture

    Following tragic circumstances in NSW, the WA Government reviewed the Residential Tenancies Act to allow furniture to be fixed to walls to protect small children.

    REIWA was supportive of the move provided any damages would be rectified or compensated for at the end of a lease.

    REIWA also raised concerns over the fixing of furniture in cases where doing so would disrupt asbestos and in strata schemes where by-laws prohibit the affixing of furniture to the walls of the premises.

    REIWA also called for special provisions for heritage listed properties.

    REWA is delighted to announce that the Department of Mines, Industry Safety and Regulation has confirmed that these exemptions have been included in the later drafts of the legislation.

    In its letter to REIWA, DMIRS stated: “It is intended that the amended provision will permit a lessor to refuse consent for furniture to be affixed where:

    • the proposed fixture would disturb asbestos building material;
    • the property is heritage listed;
    • or the property is a strata lot, and the strata by-laws prohibit the affixing of furniture to the walls of the premises. 

    In addition, the amended section will provide for the tenant to pay any costs associated with the fixture and removal of the furniture, and to repair any resulting damage to the property or compensate the lessor for the reasonable costs of repair.

    For more information, visit the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety website.