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Residential Tenancy Law Reform in Australia: 1930s to 2020. Peter Sutherland Visiting Fellow, ANU College of Law. Overview of This Presentation. 1. History of Legislative Reforms: 1788-2010 2. “ What Goes Around, Comes Around” Observations on the residential tenancy law reform process

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residential tenancy law reform in australia 1930s to 2020

Residential Tenancy Law Reform in Australia:1930s to 2020

Peter Sutherland

Visiting Fellow, ANU College of Law

overview of this presentation
Overview of This Presentation
  • 1. History of Legislative Reforms: 1788-2010
  • 2. “What Goes Around, Comes Around”
    • Observations on the residential tenancy law reform process
  • 3. Emerging Reform Issues: 2010-2020
    • Tenancy databases
    • The affordability of private rental housing
    • Utility costs and Greenhouse policy
    • Minimum dwelling standards
australian residential tenancy reform legislation
Australian Residential Tenancy Reform Legislation

SA: Residential Tenancies Act 1978

VIC: Residential Tenancies Act 1980

Rooming Houses Act 1990

NSW: Residential Tenancies Act 1987

Landlord and Tenant (Rental Bonds) Act 1977

WA: Residential Tenancies Act 1987

QLD: Residential Tenancies Act 1994

ACT: Residential Tenancies Act 1997

TAS: Residential Tenancies Act 1997

NT: Residential Tenancies Act 1999

a second round of reform
Residential Tenancies Act 1995 (SA)

Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (Vic)

Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 (Qld)

Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2010 (NT)

Residential Tenancies Bill (2010) (NSW)

Replaced the RTA 1978

Replaced the RTA 1980 & Rooming Houses Act

Replaced the RTA 1994 and the Residential Services (Accommodation) Act 2002

Coverage of caravans & technical amendments

Will replace the RTA 1987

A Second Round of Reform
what goes around comes around
What Goes Around, Comes Around
  • Residential tenancy law is a balance between the interests of three key stakeholders:
  • Owners
  • Renters
  • Government
  • WHAT GOES AROUND, COMES AROUND!
principles for residential tenancy law reform
Principles for Residential Tenancy Law Reform
  • Residential tenancy legislation has a consumer protection focus
  • A fair balance of interests between owners and renters
  • Communication with, and negotiation between, the key stakeholders in the reform process
  • Clear structure and drafting and use of standard terms or agreements
  • Appropriate compliance mechanisms and careful creation of offences
  • Effective and timely dispute resolution
  • Inclusion of frequently neglected tenures: caravan parks, boarding houses, boarders and lodgers, student accommodation, supported accommodation
occupancy principles act
71E Occupancy principles

(1) In considering a matter, or making a decision, under this Act in relation to an occupancy agreement for premises, a person must have regard to the following principles (the occupancy principles):

(a) an occupant is entitled to live in premises that are—

(i) reasonably clean; and

(ii) in a reasonable state of repair; and

(iii) reasonably secure;

(b) an occupant is entitled to know the rules of the premises before moving in;

(c) an occupant is entitled to the certainty of having the occupancy agreement in writing if the occupancy continues for longer than 6 weeks;

(d) an occupant is entitled to quiet enjoyment of the premises;

(e) a grantor is entitled to enter the premises at a reasonable time on reasonable grounds to carry out inspections or repairs and for other reasonable purposes;

(f) an occupant is entitled to 8 weeks notice before the grantor increases the amount to be paid for the right to occupy the premises;

(g) an occupant is entitled to know why and how the occupancy may be terminated, including how much notice will be given before eviction;

(h) an occupant must not be evicted without reasonable notice;

(i) a grantor and occupant should try to resolve disputes using reasonable dispute resolution processes.

Occupancy Principles (ACT)
emerging reform issues 2010 2020
Emerging Reform Issues: 2010-2020
  • Residential tenancy databases
  • The affordability of private rental housing
  • Utility costs and Greenhouse policy
  • Minimum dwelling standards
emerging reform issues 2010 202016
Emerging Reform Issues: 2010-2020
  • The affordability of private rental housing
  • Utility costs and Greenhouse policy
  • What will this mean for private rental as a low-income tenure?
  • Where will the existing cohort of low income private tenants find housing in 2020?
emerging reform issues 2010 202017
Emerging Reform Issues: 2010-2020
  • The affordability of private rental housing
  • Utility costs and Greenhouse policy
  • Minimum dwelling standards
decent not dodgy vcoss
No safety switch 33%

Visible & extensive mould 19%

No deadlocks 17%

Rooms with no ventilation 12%

Visible lack of weather proofing 10%

No fixed heating 10%

No roof insulation 7%

Decent not Dodgy - VCOSS
decent not dodgy minimum rental standards
Healthy Living Environments

Properties should be:

-free of damp

- weatherproof (without holes or gaps in the roof or walls)

- properly insulated and properly ventilated

connected to hot and cold running water and provide a fixed heater and cooking facilities.

Safe

Houses should not risk a tenant’s safety. They should:

-be structurally sound

- have windows that open and shut and can be locked

- have external doors that have deadlocks

have safe wiring, including a safety switch and hard wired smoke detectors.

Affordable to Live In

Houses that are affordable to run have:

- hot water and fixed space heating that is as energy efficient as possible to make sure that people can afford to heat their homes, to shower, and wash their clothes

low-flow shower heads and dual flush toilets that will help keep costs down as water prices rise.

For more information on these standards ss VCOSS’s discussion paper A Future Focussed Housing Standard at http://www.vcoss.org.au

“Decent Not Dodgy” – Minimum Rental Standards
housing policy 2010 2020
Housing Policy: 2010-2020
  • With the current policy settings:
  • - private rental in major cities by 2020 could be a tenure only available to middle income and wealthy Australians; and
  • - where will other Australians live?
  • If this is to be avoided, policy will have to address:
  • - significantly increasing the energy-efficiency of the private rental stock
  • - significantly increasing supply of private rental stock in major cities and many regional communities
  • - removing inadequate stock from the private rental market, eg by encouraging sale to owner-occupiers with the interest and resources to improve their dwellings, or by mandating improvements to rental stock and undertaking compulsory acquisitions where necessary
  • - increasing overall supply and, in particular, “affordable” stock.