The Greens have announced they will move a raft of amendments to protect renters, after the Fair Trading Minister today introduced a Bill amending the Residential Tenancies Act.
“The glaring omission from the Bill is that landlords will still be able to unfairly evict tenants for no reason – undermining all the other improvements in the Bill,” Greens MP and Housing spokesperson Jenny Leong said today.
“We know that landlords misuse this provision all the time, evicting tenants as retaliation for requesting repairs, or simply to increase the rent. While the Bill has some improvements, none of these will be meaningful while tenants can be evicted for accessing their rights under the law.
“On first glance, capping rent increases to once per year looks like a positive, but if it is linked to the tenancy, rather than the property, there is a genuine risk that landlords will only offer 6 month leases, creating even less security for people who are renting.
“There is also no limit to how much the rent can be increased. The Greens will seek to amend the Bill to limit annual rent increases to CPI.
“While it’s also good that minimum standards for habitability will be required, unless tenants are protected by ending no grounds evections, a dodgy landlord can simply punish a tenant for raising concerns, using a retaliatory no grounds eviction.
“Why don’t the minimum habitable standards require a home to have a kitchen? Surely being able to prepare food at home is a fairly basic requirement that everyone would expect to find in a home.
“The Greens will also move amendments to ensure the basic habitability standards include insulation, thermal efficiency and mould removal – which is one of the most common complaints made by tenants living in shoddy rental houses.
“While the Minister talked about allowing tenants to make a house a home, there are no provisions to allow people to have pets. Our furry friends are a key part of so many families, but they will remain banned for a third of households.
“The Greens support the domestic violence provisions in the Bill, that provide more flexibility for people escaping domestic violence.
BACKGROUND: The Greens 10 Point Plan for Renters Rights can be found here, and will form the basis of Greens amendments to the Bill: www.rentersrights.org.au/10_point_plan