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Rental market to benefit from review of tenancy Act

9 May 12

Tenants, landlords and real estate agencies will benefit from the opportunity to review the laws which govern residential tenancies to ensure they reflect current community needs, the Real Estate Institute of SA has said.

Welcoming the news by the Deputy Premier, the Hon John Rau MP, to review the Residential Tenancies Act, REISA Chief Executive Officer, Mr Greg Troughton said that this review is critical to ensure that everyone involved in residential leasing gets a fair go.

“The current Act is nearly 20 year old now, so the time’s right to look at what can be improved to make sure that the systems are streamlined and workloads are reduced for both industry and the Government administering the laws.”

“A review is also timely to ensure that the balance is right to encourage investors into the market to accommodate for the growing need in the private residential rental market.”

“REISA will be consulting extensively with our property managers to confirm the areas which require discussion but straight off the bat, three key issues we’ll be looking at are bond provisions, exit times from an agreement and standards of hygiene and cleanliness for properties.”

Fleshing out these issues, REISA explained that the current bond amounts of up to 6 weeks simply don’t cover rental arrear risks and potential damage to the property. A change to these amounts will give landlords greater protection and highlight to tenants the responsibility they have in looking after someone else’s investment.

Another key issue for both tenants and landlords is the state in which a property can be leased and handed back at the cessation of the agreement. Currently, there is not enough precision in defining cleanliness and hygenie conditions, so more clearly stating this in the Act will give tenants more confidence that the property they are leasing is clean and habitable state. Then at the time of ending the agreement, they will be expected to replicate these conditions.

In the situation of a periodic or fixed-term lease, the notice timeframes are not the same for landlord and tenant and REISA is keen to see these aligned so all parties are equal and understand their responsibilities. Changes in this area will give more clarity for everyone who is a party to the agreement.

REISA is also involved in a Working Group through Study Adelaide and the review of this Act will allow for more consideration of student accommodation in tenancies.

“Student accommodation is a growing market in the metropolitan area and we need to ensure that our tenancy laws provide support and adequate protection for this group who are contributing to our local economy.”