REIWA has welcomed the Cook Government’s position on retaining ‘no grounds’ evictions in WA, despite National Cabinet guidelines suggesting states look at the provision of reasonable grounds.

National Cabinet last week ruled out rent freezes and caps, instead approving a guideline on renting, which it suggested the states implement.

The guideline included:

  • Reasonable grounds for eviction
  • Eviction appeals
  • A national standard for single rent increases per year
  • Rent bidding
  • Strengthening domestic violence protections for tenants
  • Limiting break lease fees
  • Streamlining rental applications
  • Dealing with short stay rental accommodation
  • National consistency of minimum standards

A spokesperson for the WA Government — which only three months ago announced the outcome of its own residential tenancies review — said it would work with the others states and territories, but that WA’s interests would always come first.

“National Cabinet has agreed to work on a consistent policy for reasonable grounds for eviction, with consideration to existing policies in individual jurisdictions,” the WA Government spokesperson said in a statement.

“The best and most important policy to boost the rental market is to increase supply – and this is our number one priority.

“In May the [WA] Government announced a range of reforms for renters and landlords.

“These include reducing the frequency of rent increases to once every 12 months, prohibiting the practice of rent bidding, allowing tenants to keep pets and make minor modifications, and referring disputes to the Commissioner for Consumer Protection for determination.

“This will continue to be our policy in WA.”

REIWA CEO Cath Hart welcomes the WA Government’s commitment to its recent reforms and notes many of the proposals from National Cabinet had already been implemented in WA.

“WA is very different to the Eastern States and, while we commend National Cabinet’s sensible approach to the rental issues facing the nation, a one-size-fits-all solution is unlikely to benefit our market,” she said.

“WA investors have made it quite clear that increasing restrictions and removing no grounds terminations will see them leave the market and put their money into other asset classes.

“At a state and national level we need a legislative environment that sustains and encourages investment as we need every investor we can get.

“The WA Government has recognised this. Their reforms offer balanced outcomes for tenants and investors and already address some of the points mentioned in the suggested guidelines.”

Boosting housing supply

National Cabinet also addressed the issue of housing supply, which has contributed to the challenging rental conditions nation-wide.

Ms Hart said supply is the greatest challenge facing the WA market.

“WA has a dire need for more housing, for both home owners and tenants,” she said.

“Our state is facing the largest housing shortfall in the country over the coming five years according to a report from the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC), which found WA faced a shortfall of 25,200 new properties from 2023 to 2027, out of a 106,300 dwelling-shortfall nationally.

“We certainly welcome the Federal Government’s target to build 1.2 million new, well-located homes across Australia over five years from 1 July 2024, as well as the $3 billion allocated as an incentive to encourage the states to meet their housing targets.”

The incentives are supported by a National Planning Reform Blueprint, which includes updating state, regional, and local strategic plans to reflect housing supply targets; promoting medium and high-density housing in well-located areas close to existing public transport connections, amenities and employment; and streamlining approval pathways.

“Planning issues have long been noted as a key obstacle to increasing housing supply and we welcome the approach to make this process easier and more uniform,” Ms Hart said.

Photo Credit: Michael West Media

Sourced from REIWA