The Bulletin

Important Updates for Landlords | Rental Reforms coming 1st July

Renting Reforms Coming Soon: July 2024

Important updates are approaching with the implementation of revised renting laws on 1st July 2024. These reforms mark the final stage of a comprehensive overhaul aimed at modernizing the protections and requirements for both landlords and tenants across the state.

Key changes effective from 1st July 2024 include:

Landlords will need prescribed grounds to not renew a tenancy. Interpretation: You can reclaim your investment property at the expiration of a lease agreement on specific grounds. These include moving back into the property, carrying out renovations, making the home available for a family member, achieving a contract of sale, or the demolition of the house. If these grounds are used to not renew a tenancy then the property cannot be readvertised for rent for 6 months. Evidence must be provided to the tenant when serving the vacate notice.

The notice period for not renewing a fixed tenancy will extend from 28 days to 60 days. Interpretation: When it is decided to not renew a lease, and where it is lawful to do so, notice must be given 60 days before the end of the lease agreement rather than 28 days. This is intended to give tenants more time to secure their next rental property.

Pets will be allowed subject to approval and reasonable conditions. Interpretation: Prospective tenants are still required to apply for having a pet as part of their rental application. However, are entitled to apply for a pet during their tenancy. All people applying to have a pet must complete the official CBS pet approval form and the owner has 14 days to respond otherwise automatic unconditional approval is given.

If your strata bylaws state no pets then the bylaws override this legislation. The landlord will have an opportunity to argue that a property is not suitable for pets based on certain grounds. The landlord can dictate ‘reasonable conditions’ when approving a pet. These could be such things as keeping pets outside, remediating pet damage, demanding carpets be professionally cleaned, etc.

Minor alterations or safety modifications (to be removed at the tenancy end) will be permitted. Interpretation: Tenants can make minor alterations or safety modifications (like bathroom rails or picture hooks) with the requirement to restore the property to its original condition at the end of the lease.

Requirements around minimum housing standards.Interpretation: Tenants can terminate a lease without penalty with only 7 days’ notice if the property fails to meet minimum housing standards. More information on Minimum Housing Standards can be found at https://www.housingsafetyauthority.sa.gov.au/minimum-housing-standards

Drug contamination and drug-related conduct.Interpretation: Tenants can be specifically penalized for drug-related issues including the presence or use of drugs or paraphernalia.

Enhanced protections for water and electricity billing, plus requirements for energy and water efficiency for new/replaced fixtures, fittings, and appliances.Interpretation: Landlords must ensure new or replaced fixtures, fittings, and appliances (such as heaters and dishwashers) are rated three stars or greater in energy and water efficiency.

New support for tenants experiencing domestic violence. Interpretation: With supporting evidence, a tenant can leave a tenancy immediately without recourse in a domestic violence situation where appropriate proof is sighted.

Routine inspections will be limited to 4 per year. Interpretation: Routine inspections are capped at 4 per year. Notice must be given to the tenant 7 to 28 days before the day of entry. SACAT may order that additional inspections are permitted if deemed appropriate.

Rooming house proprietors must be registered by 30th November, with increased protections for rooming house residents.

Landlords must advise the agent if they are thinking of selling 3 months into a lease. Interpretation: At the commencement of a new lease or release a prospective tenant must be advised If there is an intention to sell the property within the first three months of their lease so that they can determine if they are prepared to endure living in a property being marketed for sale.

Break lease penalties have changed and we can only claim a maximum of 4 weeks rent even if it takes longer to lease again. Interpretation: This is a walkback from previous rules which allowed rent to be charged until either a new tenant commences paying rent or the expiration of the tenancy agreement.

Tenant application information has restricted us from asking if they have children, and what age they are (applicant included). We can’t ask for employment information only 2 most recent pay slips. Interpretation: There are restrictions on the type of information landlords can request during tenant applications to prevent discrimination and protect applicant privacy.

If you’re looking at selling and have a difficult tenant, you can get a SACAT order that forces the tenant to comply with the open inspection times.

Routine inspection photos must not include any tenant belongings. Only photos of the structure and damages can be sent unless written consent is obtained before conducting the inspection.

For more detailed information on these reforms, please visit https://www.cbs.sa.gov.au/campaigns/rental-reforms

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