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REIWA calls on parties to prioritise rental shortages

With Western Australia’s state poll less than a month away, the Real Estate Institute of WA is trying to put the state’s rental shortage at the top of the political agenda.

The state’s vacancy rate is currently the lowest it has been in 40 years, at less than 1 per cent, and REIWA has called for Western Australia’s political parties to commit to tackling the state’s rental shortage if elected on March 13.

REIWA President Damian Collins said Perth’s vacancy rate was 0.9 per cent in January, marking the fifth month in a row it had been below 1 per cent.

“WA is currently the fastest growing major market in the country. We are still one of the most affordable states, but urgently need more rental stock to keep it that way,” Mr Collins said.

He said it was vital investors were encouraged back into the market to help ensure more properties were available for tenants

“This rental shortage will not go away without a significant uplift in private investment in housing. REIWA is recommending two key actions to encourage investment in WA,” Mr Collins said.

He said short-term financial incentives would help encourage lessors into investing in the market.

“For example, introducing land tax rebates for a limited time would make investment more financially viable and reduce the costs associated with owning an investment property.”

Based on a property valued at $500,000, and using the WA Government’s online land tax calculator, REIWA estimates a two-year rebate for land tax would save the average investor $850.

“Other states are doing this, so there is no reason why WA, with a healthy budget surplus, shouldn’t be taking these steps to encourage investors back to the market,” Mr Collins said.

Secondly, with the Residential Tenancies Act currently under review, he said legislative reforms should be considered to ensure tenancy laws were fair for all parties.

“The RTA underpins every residential tenancy across WA. This review provides an opportunity to ensure the legislation provides adequate safeguards for both lessors and tenants,” Mr Collins said.

“There are seven key recommendations the institute is making as part of the review which we feel will help keep residential tenancies in WA fair and balanced.”

The recommendations are:

  1. Maintain the right to choose between a fixed or a periodic tenancy
  2. Preserve a tenant’s and lessor’s right to end a periodic tenancy without grounds, if necessary
  3. Encourage pets in rental properties without limiting a lessor’s right to determine the suitability of a property
  4. Ensure compliance with current housing standards without creating additional red tape
  5. Protect the interests of both tenants and lessors by requiring consent before any modification to the property is made
  6. Resolve disputes quickly, fairly and efficiently
  7. Maintain the current hardship provision for those seeking to break a lease.

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