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Landlords

Landlord Update #1 - How a mortgagee repossession would affect your tenants

If you have failed to keep up with the mortgage payments for your rental property, the mortgagee (the bank, credit union etc.) may apply to the Supreme Court for possession. As part of this process, the mortgagee may give the tenant notice of the application to repossess the property via Form 17, which could result in a concerned tenant contacting you for more information. The process from application to court-ordered possession can be lengthy so the tenancy agreement continues as usual and the property is still in your name. Once the mortgagee takes possession of the property, they may choose to terminate the existing residential tenancy agreement. Again, the tenant may contact you for more information.

If this happens, there are several important things you should know:

  • The mortgagee must give the tenant at least 30 days’ notice to vacate using Form 14.
  • The tenant does not pay rent during the 30 day notice period.
  • The tenant is entitled to be repaid any rent that was paid in advance for that 30 day period and must contact the mortgagee’s representative listed on the Form 14 to make arrangements for any refund.
  • The mortgagee can enter the premises during the 30 day period to show it to prospective buyers provided the tenant receives reasonable notice and agrees to the date/time.

For detailed information, visit our new Mortgagee ending a tenancy page that explains the process, timings, and options available to tenants.

This information was shared by the Government of Western Australia - Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety Consumer Protection: July2019

 


 

Landlord Update #2 - Update to family and domestic violence regulations

From 12 October 2019 the regulations to the Residential Tenancies Act 1987 (RTA) prescribed additional classes of persons who can make a report of family violence to further support tenants experiencing family and domestic violence (FDV). Family violence refers to:

  • violence or a threat of violence, by a person towards a family member of the person; or
  • any other behaviour by the person that coerces or controls the family member or causes the member to be fearful.

It can be experienced by people of all classes, religions, ethnicity, ages, abilities and sexual preferences. In many cases, the affected tenant(s) and the perpetrator may live together, however the perpetrator does not have to be living in the same house for the situation to qualify as FDV.

Additions to list of ‘designated professionals’ - Tenants are currently able to leave their rental home by completing a Notice of termination of the tenant’s interest in the residential tenancy agreement on grounds of family violence and accompanying documentation evidencing FDV. Evidence can include a Domestic Violence Order, a Family Court injunction or an application for a an injunction, proof of criminal charges being laid by the tenant or a conviction relating to violence against the tenant or a Family Violence Report - evidence form signed by a professional designated in the RTA. From 12 October 2019, the list of designated professionals includes a prescribed class of person meaning that additional professionals can now sign the evidence form. These professions are:

  • a child protection worker;
  • a family support worker; or
  • a person in charge of an Aboriginal health, welfare or legal organisation.

Remember the Consumer Protection Family Violence Report Evidence Form is confidential and you are responsible for ensuring that the documents are stored in a secure location. Any landlord who discloses the details, for example to a co-tenant, or does not keep the documents secure can be fined up to $5,000 for each offence. You must provide a copy of the termination notice to any of the co tenants. You must not include copies of any supporting documentation. Landlords cannot charge fees that are related to FDV circumstances. An inspection that is required when a tenant’s interest is terminated for FDV reasons is to be treated as an ordinary final inspection and therefore should be described and charged as such under a management agreement.

Locks- The tenancy law changes allow tenants who are experiencing FDV to change the locks without first seeking your permission either:

  • after a perpetrator’s interest in a tenancy agreement is terminated; or
  • if a tenant suspects, on reasonable grounds, that FDV is likely to be committed against them or their dependants.

The tenant must give you a copy of the new key(s) within seven (7) days. You are prohibited from giving a copy of the key(s) to anyone the tenant has specifically instructed you in writing not to; or the perpetrator whose interest has been terminated under the family violence provisions.

Security upgrades - The updated regulations allow tenants to make certain security upgrades to the premises without a landlord’s permission:

  • after a perpetrator’s interest in a tenancy agreement is terminated; or
  • if a tenant suspects, on reasonable grounds, that FDV is likely to be committed against them or their dependants.

Tenants have the right to improve security at the rental home at their own cost, for example installing CCTV, external lights, window locks, security screens or shutters and pruning of shrubs and trees. All upgrades should comply with strata by-laws and take into consideration the age and character of the property. Tenants can upgrade security without permission as long as:

  • the tenant provides you with a written notice of their intention to make alterations;
  • the upgrades are done by a qualified tradesperson;
  • the tenant pays for the upgrades and all associated costs; and
  • the tenant provides you a copy of the invoice within 14 days of the alterations being completed.

A tenant must restore the premises to their original condition at the end of the tenancy if the landlord requires them to do so and, where work has been undertaken by a tradesperson, must provide to the landlord with a copy of that tradesperson’s invoice within 14 days of that work having been performed.

This information was shared by the Government of Western Australia - Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety Consumer Protection: Nov2019