Recently the ACT government (via its Justice directorate) released a consultation paper on four proposed changes to the Residential Tenancies Act.
The key areas of discussion are:
- The removal of without cause evictions
(currently available via a 26 week without cause eviction notice)
- The implementation of tenant rights to grow food and compost
(this would operate as the current pet regime – refusal will require the owner to obtain an ACAT order)
- The removal of solicited rental bidding (induced by the owner or agent) and possibly also voluntary bidding (initiated by a prospective tenant)
- The introduction of minimum standards across a range of areas including heating, lighting & security amongst other items
It is worth noting that the ACT Government, prior to the last election, already passed the legislative framework allowing it to deal with minimum standards. The legislation allows the government to introduce minimum standards, via regulatory mechanisms, with respect to five categories, which are: physical accessibility, energy efficiency, safety and security, sanitation and amenity. Clearly the powers under the amended framework are far reaching.
The discussion paper is accessible here:
There are also useful summary sheets on each of the four elements available here:
There is no timeframe given by the government for the implementation of the changes. However, from past behaviour it can be assumed that, once the consultation period closes, the government will move quickly if it is committed to this path. There are four sitting weeks after the consultation period ends (weeks 9 to 12) these are spread across October, November & December. If the government had a mind to pass this legislation quickly it could be done in the current calendar year.
Whilst a number of these initiatives seem to have merit and they are in keeping with the ACT Government Housing Strategy (https://www.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/1265638/ACT-Housing-Strategy-2018.pdf) they do represent the potential for additional cost to all owners. I would recommend that owners consider making a submission if you have a view on these matters.
Feedback is requested by 17 September 2021 via email submission to email@example.com.