We are pleased the Residential Tenancies Act (Family Violence) Amendment Bill 2018 has formally passed and we commend the WA Government for listening to the concerns of our industry and achieving a positive outcome for both victims and landlords.
We understand that the legislation will not come into effect until mid-April 2019. This means that tenants claiming domestic violence will not be able to use the provisions of the Act until then.
We are proud to have secured vital safeguards that ensure only genuine victims of family violence can terminate a lease early.
REIWA President Damian Collins said while REIWA had always been supportive of introducing legislation to help victims of family violence leave tenancies in which they were unsafe, it was important that preventative measures were in place to stop the legislation from being misused.
“REIWA fully supports the WA Government’s decision to amend the Act. Family violence is a growing issue in our community and we all have a responsibility to help eradicate it and ensure measures are put in place to assist victims instead of punish them. However, it was also important to protect the rights of property owners by ensuring the new legislation could not be used without just cause.
“We are pleased the WA Government has listened to the recommendations of the real estate industry by including a legally binding declaration in the prescribed forms. This means in cases where there has been no criminal charges laid, the victim will sign a declaration to reaffirm their claims, removing the need to go to court. This will also assist the prescribed professionals when completing the report in confidence,” Mr Collins said.
The declaration also carries significant penalties should the claimant be found to be making false statements.
“This will act as a hefty deterrent against the misuse of this legislation, which is designed to help only genuine victims of family violence. REIWA welcomes this outcome as an important step in the process towards reducing the burdens of the residential tenancy system on victims of family violence while also protecting the rights of property owners,” Mr Collins said.
“This article was originally published on reiwa.com. You can find the original article here