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South Australian Government to review rental laws

The South Australia State Government has announced an extensive review of the Residential Tenancies Act.

The review will examine issues including renting with pets, share housing and a crackdown on rent bidding.

The government will look at whether or not landlords should be able to refuse a tenant who wants to have a pet, which has long been an area that has caused tenants problems in securing accommodation.

They will also examine how to classify rooming houses and shared accommodation based on the number of occupants as well as determining if landlords should be prohibited from advertising a property within a rent range, putting a property up for rent auction, or soliciting offers to pay an amount of rent above the advertised price.

Rental laws across the country have fallen into focus in recent years as surging rents and tight vacancy rates have placed increased pressure on renters.

SA Minister for Consumer and Business Affairs Andrea Michaels said the review would involve consultation with tenants, landlords and industry bodies to try and improve the current legislation.

“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,” Ms Michaels said.

“With cost-of-living pressures putting a real strain on household budgets across the board, 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.

“We want to hear from tenants, landlords and others who have a stake in ensuring we have a fair and equitable system that benefits everyone.”

Ms Michaels said consultation is an important first step in ensuring the state’s residential tenancies laws are modern and cover relevant issues.

Another area the review will focus on is the length of tenancies, if they should be increased and whether landlords should be required to meet certain conditions before they are able to terminate a lease.

It will also examine whether bonds should increase and if safety modifications and minor changes including the installation of wall anchors, child safety gates, childproof latches, wireless outdoor cameras, showerheads, and internal window coverings should not be able to be refused by landlords.

Consultation has now begun on the potential changes with the release of a discussion paper, marking the start of the most extensive review since 2014.

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Rowan Crosby

Rowan Crosby is a senior journalist at Elite Agent specialising in finance and real estate.

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