No more ‘rent bidding’, tenants to get more rights under WA overhaul

Commerce Minister Sue Ellery said the reform was a balancing act between addressing issues tenants were facing and keeping properties on the market.

“Our position is the reforms that I’ve announced today will balance the need for greater rights for tenants, with certainty for existing landlords and potential investors in the rental market,” she said.

“If we restrict the decisions that owners can make about how they manage and use their asset, the risk we take is that they remove them from what is already a really tight rental market.”

Ellery said one of the key factors for “whether a house is a home” was if pets were allowed.

“For a long time, it’s been the case that tenants have had to choose between their pet and whether they can get a particular property,” she said.

“We’re changing the law so that the default position is that you can have a pet and landlords can request that tenants seek permission, but they cannot unreasonably withhold that permission.”

She said it was hard to define what would count as being “unreasonable”, as it would vary between properties, and the type and number of pets.


Housing Minister John Carey said the pandemic had radically recast and reshaped housing and rental markets, and the key to providing rental relief was to boost housing supply.

“It’s meant an increase in housing demand and we are cognisant of the housing pressures that families are facing,” he said.

“We are using every lever we can to accelerate the delivery of housing in Western Australia. The changes and the reforms that we’re announcing today … strike the right balance.”

Consumer Protection will now be the main agency dealing with any tenancy disputes, a change from the current system which runs through the magistrates court.

Ellery said additional staff would be appointed to Consumer Protection to deal with its new role.

Real Estate Institute WA chief executive officer Cath Hart said investors made up 85 per cent of the private rental market – the majority only having one property.

“They have been leaving the market in significant numbers, so there are nearly 20,000 fewer rental properties now than two years ago,” she said.

“This exodus has contributed to the vacancy rate falling to a 42-year low and rent prices increasing. The reforms announced today strike the right balance …we will continue to advocate for practical and pragmatic approaches to their implementation.”

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