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New Tenancy Laws for WA effective 1 July

Some major changes came into effect in WA with the modernising of the Residential Tenancies Act on  1 July, 2013.  The changes apply to all new and renewed residential lease agreements starting this financial year.

“Owners in particular need to be aware that property condition reports are mandatory at the start of a lease, there are increased security requirements for doors and windows and there are changes to both Option Fees and bond arrangements,” said REIWA president David Airey. “Tenants should be aware that changes have been made to urgent repairs, notices for ending fixed term leases and greater time frames are now allowed for infringement notices.”

This is the biggest overhaul of the RTA since 1984 and has been designed to update residential leasing agreements in a way that reflects contemporary arrangements. Mr Airey said many of the changes, while welcome, are a bit complex and that private owner-managers not skilled in the details of the RTA should take care not to breach its provisions.

“I would strongly encourage private owners to give serious consideration to handing their properties over to professional services and having them managed by experienced real estate agents,” Mr Airey said.

In WA around 60 per cent of rental properties are managed by agents with the remaining 40 per cent being looked after directly by owners. The number of managed properties on the east coast is much higher than WA, with indications that the number of managed properties in our state slowly increasing as owners place their faith in property managers and take advantage of the tax benefits that flow from that.

Current REIWA data show that Perth’s vacancy rate for available rental properties has lifted to 3.2 per cent, up from a tight 1.9 per cent in December last year.

“Our preliminary data is also indicating a lift of around $5 per week for units and apartments, while houses are holding steady in price,” Mr Airey said. REIWA data for the March quarter put the metropolitan median price for rentals at $470 per week.

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