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Published on May 14th, 2013

New tenancy laws for WA

The state government has introduced new tenancy law through its Residential Tenancies Act to ensure better protection and fairness for both tenants and property owners.

Changes to the laws will be taking effect from July 1, 2013, with one of the most significant changes being the capping of option fees.

Paid by prospective tenants when applying for a residential property, option fees will now be capped at $50 for houses rented under $500 per week, and $100 for those over $500.

"Limiting most option fees for rental applications to either $50 or $100 will greatly reduce the upfront costs to people trying to secure rental properties during the current tight market, and the fees must be refunded within seven days if an applicant is unsuccessful," said WA commerce minister Michael Mischin.

"Also, tenants won’t be forced to pay more than a fortnight’s rent in advance, which will help ease the financial pressures of renting a home in WA."

On top of the caps for option fees, property condition reports will be made compulsory at the start of new tenancies. These reports allow both tenants and owners to make a note of the condition of the property before a tenant moves in, so any damage or wear and tear can be assessed once the tenancy ends.

However, these reports being made compulsory will help to reduce the number of discrepancies regarding refunding of bonds paid by tenants.

Security bonds paid by tenants will also now be deposited with the Department of Commerce, who will have control over the release of funds once disposal arrangements have been agreed upon between the tenant and owner.

These changes will help to provide clarity for the rental process for both parties, and is especially good news for investors who manage their own residential real estate.


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