• Residential Tenancies Act 

    Family and domestic violence amendments

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

    However, we must also be vigilant and protect the rights of property owners to ensure measures aimed at helping those most in need are not exploited at the expense of property owners.

    REIWA supports victims of domestic violence being able to terminate a lease early, however to protect owners, REIWA believes a declaration must be made by the person looking to terminate which ensures the evidence provided to the prescribed professional is accurate to the best of their knowledge. This legal document will carry penalties for providing false or misleading information, but will add no additional barriers to genuine victims.

    REIWA believes the financial burden of property damage, unpaid rent and loss of bond should be carried by only the perpetrator, but will be working with insurers to make sure cases of family and domestic violence are covered by all landlords' insurance premiums.

    REIWA also supports changes that will allow those who choose to remain in the property to make reasonable alterations to the property to increase their safety, such as changing the locks and adding security lights. This will be at the expense of the tenant and will need to be rectified at the end of the lease, should the property owner request it.

    Overall, having these critical situations 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.

    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.