• What are the recent changes to the Residential Tenancies Act?


    Most of us have, or will, at one point in our lives rent a property and call it home. Whether you’re flying the coup for the first time, sharing a rambling old home, awaiting the completion of a renovation or relocating, there are a lot of different reasons why people choose to enter the rental market.

    Indeed, as ‘affordability’ issues have rendered owning a home increasingly difficult for many West Australians, people are now more likely than ever to rent instead of buying.

    Recently, Consumer Protection - Department Of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (formerly Department of Commerce) announced changes to the Residential Tenancies Act, which took effect on 3 July. It is important that tenants and landlords are across these changes.

    Three key changes

    1. The Act now allows and authorises the service of any notice or document to be given by electronic means, such as email.
    2. The Magistrates Court will also no longer publish notices about court applications, such as the disposal of abandoned goods, in the newspaper. All court notices will now be published on a website maintained by the Magistrates Court.
    3. A further change is a minor adjustment to the manner by which notice is given for routine inspections.

    These three key changes were designed to improve efficiencies in dealing with residential tenancies.

    REIWA has been an advocate for these improvements and we commend the Department for supporting these sensible changes.

    Speak with your REIWA property manager

    For landlords, understanding the workings of the Act is not straightforward. If you own a rental property, I strongly advise you to rely on the expertise of a REIWA property manager for advice on your investment property and tenancy matters.

    The vast majority of tenancies run smoothly, but on the odd occasion when tenancy ‘goes bad’, it is the property manager's job to manage the tenancy, mitigating any potential losses for the owner.

    This task, along with the other numerous day-to-day management issues, illustrates that the actual role of the property manager is to manage the tenancy within the terms of the lease and the law, rather than managing the actual property itself.

    The property manager is only legally allowed to inspect the rental property on four occasions within the 12 month tenancy. This means that, in the literal sense, it is the tenant that lives in and by-extension ‘manages’ the rental itself. The property manager’s key role is to ensure the tenant looks after the home in a level expected of them under the terms of the lease and within the confines of the law.

    If you have questions about the Act, or the lease in general, speak with your REIWA property manager.