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SA rental laws up for historic review

By Zarah Torrazo
17 November 2022 | 11 minute read
andrea michaels minister reb k5wmik

South Australia is the latest state to consider significant reforms to its tenancy laws, as rising interest rates and cost-of-living pressures bolster the case for modernised tenancy regulations. 

The South Australian government has officially launched an extensive review of the Residential Tenancies Act with the release of a discussion paper on 15 November — the first evaluation of its kind since 2014. 

Minister for Consumer and Business Affairs Andrea Michaels said that the consultation phase with the residential housing community is an important first step in ensuring the state’s residential tenancies laws are up to date, cover relevant issues and work in the “best interests of both tenants and landlords”. 

“As Australia continues to face a widespread rental crisis with lack of stock and affordability issues, it’s been one of my priorities to ensure we have contemporary, effective residential tenancies laws in this state,” she stated. 

As the rising cost-of-living pressures add a strain on household budgets, Ms Michaels stated that “now is the right time to look at how the rental property market has evolved, what people expect and how we can make our laws modern and fair for both tenants and landlords”. 

With the consultation set to end on 16 December, the government called on involved stakeholders to make their voices heard and ensure “a fair and equitable system that benefits everyone”. 

Housing stakeholders, including tenants, landlords and involved organisations, are called on to provide their input on the reforms that are up for proposal, including renting with pets, shared housing, and the practice of rent bidding.

Standardised application forms, setting maximum bond amounts and extending the notice required for not renewing a tenancy agreement will also be on the table for review. 


Other changes up for discussion are housing standards, tenants making safety modifications and minor changes, support for renters experiencing domestic violence, water bills and payment requirements and contaminated properties due to illegal drug activity. 

South Australia follows the footsteps of other states and territories that have taken steps or are planning to modernise residential tenancy laws in recent times. 

Regulatory changes on residential tenancy laws across Victoria, NSW, ACT and Northern Territory have been rolled out in recent years, with some as early as 2019. 

In Queensland, reforms are being rolled out in three stages, with the first phase commencing immediately on 20 October 2021. After rolling out the reform’s second phase on 1 October 2022, the state’s government is now preparing to start the final phase of changes introducing minimum housing standards, which will come into effect in 2023 to 2024. 

In Western Australia, there are pending reforms to the Residential Tenancies Act (1987).


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