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Private Rental in WA

Private Rental in WA

Access to affordable, safe and secure rental accommodation is a critical component of a diverse and functioning housing market. In Western Australia the Residential Tenancies Act 1987 (RTA) regulates the relationship of lessors and tenants under residential tenancy agreements. The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety is responsible for this Act. The Residential Parks (Long-stay Tenants) Act 2006, regulates the relationship between park operators and long-stay tenants . People who live in . boarding or lodging arrangements are not covered under the RTA. Legislation in relation to boarding houses is limited to the enforcement of public health requirements, some requirements under local government by-laws, common law principles and the specific terms of contracts.

 

Rental affordability in the private rental market remains an issue particularly for low income earners. Some renters find it especially challenging to find adequate rental housing that meets their housing needs, including the cost of rent, housing type and location. For example, older renters may face challenges as their incomes tend to remain static or fall as they age, but rental costs remain the same or increase. A key issue for most renters is rental security, with many renters on fixed one term or rolling leases.

 

Issues

 

  • Many low-income renters experience rental stress, defined as paying more than 30 per cent of their income on rent.  Between the 2011 and 2016 Census, median rents increased in Western Australia by 15.7 per cent, outstripping average income growth of 12.7 per cent over the same period: Median rents increased from $300 to $347 per week. Median mortgage payments increased from $1950 to $1993 per week, an increase of 2.2 per cent; and average household median weekly income growth from $1415 to $1595 or 12.7 per cent. [1]
  • The vacancy rate in Perth has remained around 6%. A vacancy rate of 3 per cent generally indicates that rental supply is meeting demand [2] .
  • Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA) is a government subsidy to eligible Centrelink benefit recipient tenants living in private rental and community housing.  A Productivity Commission report released in 2016 indicated that 42.9 per cent of low income households in WA were in rental stress, spending more than 30 per cent of income on housing. 46.8 per cent of CRA recipients were in rental stress [3] If they had not received CRA, over 65 per cent of these households would be in rental stress.

 

  • A 2017 Report produced by Choice, National Shelter and the National Association of Tenant Organisations (NATO) found that for the increasing numbers of Australians who rent, that housing is frequently poor quality, insecure and unaffordable; that many tenants felt that they are not well catered to when searching for a new home; some face discrimination on a range of grounds including aged, ethnicity and disability; and that rental conditions are not always in an acceptable condition and landlords are not always responsive to requests for repairs and maintenance.

 

  • Australia is one of only five countries in which most renters can be evicted without being given a reason, a ‘without-grounds eviction [4] .

 

  • In July 2017, amendments were made to the Residential Parks (Long-stay Tenants) Act 2006. Key reforms included: no 'without grounds' terminations of long-stay agreements; no termination of fixed-term agreements on the sale of a park; and no automatic termination if a park owner's lender takes possession of the park.

 

  • People who live in boarding or lodging arrangements are not covered under the RTA. There is a need to review the regulation of boarding and lodging arrangements to balance the need for consumer protections with the ability for providers to manage their properties flexibly.

 

Resources

 

Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA)

The Real Estate industry WA (REIWA) produces weekly e-news on Perth & WA Market Snapshots, providing median rent in the Perth metropolitan area and comparing fluctuations in the previous quarters and year on year.

REIWA market news

 

Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety

Information on the types of rental accommodation and renting a property in WA.

Tenancy WA
Tenancy WA offers information, advice and support to help people in need resolve tenancy issues.

 

Shelter WA
Shelter WA maintains a Housing Options & Resources directory which displays housing and support services available in your local areas.

 

Private & Public Tenancy Support

Private & Public Tenancy Support Services assists families and individuals experiencing difficulties in maintaining rental tenancies. This support aims to assist and support at the earliest opportunity before debts, or other tenancy management issues, become unmanageable and places the tenancy at risk.

The Department of Communities (Child Protection and Family Support) maintains a directory of funded Private and Public Tenancy Support services .

Community Legal Centres Association WA

There are currently 28 community based, community managed legal centres throughout metropolitan, regional and remote WA.  These services can also assist with tenancy issues. A list of services is available from the Community Legal Centres Association WA Directory

REFERENCES


[1] Australian Bureau of Statistics http://www.censusdata.abs.gov.au/census_services/getproduct
/census/2016/quickstat/5?opendocument
  Accessed November 14 2017

[2] https://www.realestateview.com.au/blog/2016/10/what-is-a-vacancy-rate/

[3] Productivity Commission (2017) Report on Government Services 2016 Volume G: Housing and homelessness , Table GA.24 Number and proportion of income units receiving CRA paying more than 30 per cent of income on rent, with and without, CRA, by geographic location http://www.pc.gov.au/research/ongoing/report-on-government-services/2016/housing-and-homelessness/rogs-2016-volumeg-housing-and-homelessness.pdf

[4] 5 https://rentingfair.org.au/need-to-know .

 

Updated November 2017