Rental Crisis

Rental Crisis

The government’s first reforms to provide renters with relief passed the Parliament last week. Soliciting by agents, property owners or third party platforms for offers higher than an advertised price are prohibited and anyone experiencing this practice should lodge a complaint with Fair Trading (phone 13 32 20). Provisions also passed for a portable bond so that renters changing homes don’t have to pay a second bond before a previous bond is reimbursed however detailed work is needed before a scheme can commence. Provisions that would have required the disclosure of unsolicited bids to all applicants to give them an opportunity to outbid competitors were thankfully dropped following concerns from me, other cross benchers and tenancy and homelessness advocates aired through an inquiry that they could make rental auctions the norm.

The bill won’t do much to improve affordability, which is the biggest concern facing renters. The government has promised a rental commissioner to look at the problem and during my speech I outlined the key reforms needed including new social and affordable housing, clarification on unlawful rent increases and better regulation of short term letting.

The options for anyone facing huge rent increases are limited to negotiation with the landowner/agent or taking a case to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT). The Tenants’ Union has details about the law and tips for managing this difficult situation > HERE

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