Tenants will be able to view and challenge their rental history database as part of new rental laws to hit Western Australia in July.
Commerce Minister Michael Mischin said the changes will make renting fairer for Western Australian tenants, while also protecting the interests of property owners.
The minister said the new laws delivered standard tenancy agreements, which included minimum levels of security for rental properties.
“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,” Mr Mischin said.
“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.
“Making property condition reports compulsory at the beginning and the end of each tenancy will help reduce disputes over the return of bond money, which is the subject of numerous complaints to Consumer Protection.
“All new tenant security bonds will need to be deposited with the Bond Administrator at the Department of Commerce, which will release bond money according to disposal arrangements agreed to between the property owner and tenant, or according to a ruling by a Magistrates Court. Existing bonds will need to be transferred upon renewal of the tenancy agreement.
“A standard tenancy agreement is now available and rental properties will need to have minimum levels of window and door security to ensure the safety of the tenant.
“Tenancy databases, which are sometimes used to check a tenant’s history and assist owners in assessing applications, will be more transparent, with tenants given access to their information and a process to challenge inaccurate or out-dated information.
“These changes were the result of extensive consultation with stakeholders and the community and will create a fairer rental market that balances the rights and interests of both tenants and property owners.”
The new Residential Tenancies Act is due to commence on 1 July 2013.