The New South Wales Government has introduced the Residential Tenancies Amendment (Rental Fairness) Bill 2023, reflecting its commitment to improving residential tenancy laws and making renting fairer. With over one-third of the population in New South Wales being renters, the government aims to ensure secure, safe, and affordable housing while creating fair rules for both tenants and property owners.
Renters in New South Wales are currently facing one of the toughest rental markets in decades, with low housing supply and escalating interest rates making affordability a challenge. The Property Council and the Reserve Bank of Australia have reported an increase in the proportion of income tenants are paying toward rent, causing financial stress.
Key Reforms in the proposed Bill:
- Appointment of a Rental Commissioner: The bill establishes a dedicated Rental Commissioner who will advocate for tenants, identify barriers to increasing housing supply, and gather data on renting to inform future reforms.
- Reasonable Grounds for Ending a Tenancy: The bill amends the rules around ending a tenancy to ensure tenants can no longer be evicted without any reason. The government will work with stakeholders to identify additional reasonable grounds for ending a tenancy.
- Pet-Friendly Rentals: The government aims to make it easier for tenants to keep pets by preventing owners from unreasonably refusing permission for a pet.
- Elimination of Secret Rent Bidding: The bill bans the practice of secret rent bidding, where one applicant offers a higher price and secures the property without other applicants knowing or having the opportunity to match the offer.
- Portable Bond Scheme: The government plans to establish a portable rental bond scheme, allowing tenants to transfer their bonds from one property to another, reducing the financial burden when moving.
The Residential Tenancies Amendment (Rental Fairness) Bill 2023 represents a significant step towards creating a more balanced and fair rental market. With its focus on creating a fairer rental system by appointing a Rental Commissioner, banning secret rent bidding, and establishing a portable bond scheme, the government aims to address the challenges faced by tenants and ensure secure and affordable housing
If enacted, this legislation has the potential to improve the rental experience for individuals and families, promoting stability, fairness, and inclusivity within the housing sector. However, it is essential to continue engaging in constructive dialogue and monitor the implementation of the bill to ensure its intended outcomes are achieved without unintended consequences.