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BREAKING: National Cabinet announces major reforms

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We were thrilled to see the announcement from National Cabinet today announcing A Better Deal for Renters “to harmonise and strengthen renters’ rights across Australia”.  This includes: 

  • Developing a nationally consistent policy to implement a requirement for genuine reasonable grounds for eviction. 
  • Moving towards limiting rent increases to once a year. 
  • Phasing in minimum rental standards.

Check our fact sheet here to understand no grounds evictions in more detail.

We are seeking more information on this announcement and will be making a formal statement soon. Watch this space!  

The Fine Print:

  1. Develop a nationally consistent policy to implement a requirement for genuine reasonable grounds for eviction, having consideration to the current actions of some jurisdictions.
  2. Ensure provisions to allow appeals against retaliatory eviction notices are fit for purpose (e.g. evictions motivated by tenants taking reasonable action to secure or enforce legal rights, complain or disclose information about their tenancy).
  3. Move towards a national standard of no more than one rent increase per year for a tenant in the same property across fixed and ongoing agreements.
  4. Implement a ban on soliciting rent bidding.
  5. Allow tenants experiencing domestic or family violence to:
    1. End agreements without penalty and with a streamlined process and evidence e.g.
      1. declaration by a prescribed professional such as a doctor or support service worker; ii. Change the locks and make security improvements without the landlord’s permission; iii. Have their name removed from databases due to property damage caused by family or domestic violence; and iv. With jurisdictions to consider further action to protect tenants who are victim survivors of domestic or family violence e.g. the ability to apply to have the perpetrator removed from the tenancy.
  6. Limit break lease fees for fixed term agreements to a maximum prescribed amount which declines according to how much of the lease has expired (e.g. a maximum of four weeks’ rent if less than 25 per cent of the fixed term has expired).
  7. Make rental applications easier and protect renters’ personal information:
    1. Prescribe a rental application form in each jurisdiction, with required documents limited to two in each of the following categories: identity, financial ability to pay rent, suitability; ii. Require the destruction of renters’ personal information three years after a tenancy ends and three months after tenancy begins for an unsuccessful applicant; iii. Require tenants’ personal information to be provided and corrected within 30 days of a request by a tenant or prospective tenant; and iv. Specify information not allowed to be collected from a tenant or more generally (e.g. disputes with landlords).
  8. Phase in minimum quality standards for rental properties (e.g. stovetop in good working order, hot and cold running water).
  9. Consider options for better regulation of short-stay residential accommodation.