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Government reviews rights of tenants and landlords

28 July 2014 Elyse Perrau

As part of a comprehensive critique of the rules surrounding rentals, the ACT government is reviewing the rights of landlords to evict tenants.

The government has disclosed a discussion paper on issues they believe worthy of consideration.

One issue is whether tenants are properly protected from wrongful or "retaliatory" evictions.

At the moment, landlords don't need any reason to evict tenants if they give 26 weeks’ notice, but the discussion paper asks whether there should be remedies for tenants who are given notice because they tried to assert their rights by complaining about the landlord or seeking legal advice.

It also asks whether there should be relief for tenants who are thrown out with just four weeks’ notice on the grounds the landlord intended to move in but the landlord never actually had the intention.

Speaking to Residential Property Manager, Real Estate Institute of the ACT chief executive Ron Bell said there are a number of issues that need to be looked into.

“I am a little worried about how difficult it is for some landlords and agents to evict the people who are not doing the right thing by the property, or failing to pay their way. We need to make sure that is fairer all the way around,” he said.  

“The review calls for comment up until some time in September, so we will be making a more formal submission after I put together a team of experts in property management.”

The discussion papers points out that Canberra's rents are high, with 40 per cent of the 168,000 Commonwealth public servants residing in the city, guaranteeing high demand for rentals.

The government also wants to know what should be included in standard rental agreements and what extra deals landlords and tenants should be able to make with eachother without going to the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal for approval.

Two public forums will be held on the proposals on September 1 and September 5. 

Government reviews rights of tenants and landlords
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