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Recent changes to the South Australian Residential Tenancy Act – what you need to know as a landlord

As you may have seen in the media lately, the South Australian Government is currently looking at a number of potential reforms to the Residential Tenancy Act and Regulations.

These proposed changes are heavily slanted toward supporting the rights and safety of renters.

 

At OC, we support a review of the current laws, after all, only one review has taken place since the Legislature’s introduction in 1995. However, we firmly believe a far more balanced approach to these reforms is required before they become law.

 

Please see below for a brief description of some of the major proposed changes:

 

Longer Tenancies

This proposal includes restricting the right of a landlord not to renew a lease for limited prescribed reasons. This means a landlord would not be able to end a tenancy unless they are selling the property, undertaking major renovations, or moving into the property.  Part of this proposal also includes the need for a landlord to provide a minimum of 60 days’ notice to end a lease.

Residential Bonds

This proposal is essentially lowering the amount of bond a tenant is required to pay from six weeks to four weeks for any property under $800 per week.

Renting with pets

This proposal restricts landlords from unreasonably refusing a tenant’s request to keep a pet at a property.

Housing standards

This proposal includes introducing minimum energy efficiency standards in rental properties. An early measure may include new appliances meeting certain energy standards.

Safety modifications & minor changes

This proposal will allow tenants to make minor alterations to a property at their own expense – such as installing child safety gates, childproof latches, outdoor cameras, fixing furniture to walls, and temporarily replacing internal window coverings.

Water billing

This proposal requires landlords to pay for the water supply charge rather than the tenant.

Illegal drug activity

This proposal will require landlords to drug test properties where it is suspected that drugs may have been consumed. Tenants would also be able to request this test if they suspect it is contaminated.

 

The consultation process is underway, so now is the time to make your opinions heard. We will be submitting responses to the proposed changes through the Real Estate Institute of South Australia. If you would like to pass on your feedback, please do so via your local Government member.

If you need any property management advice or want to discuss any of the points above, feel free to reach out to the rental team here.

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