Family violence prompts tenancy law review

Western Australia's tenancy laws are under review to better protect and support victims of family violence in rental properties.

Attorney General and Commerce Minister Michael Mischin said an options paper had been released which proposed changes to the Residential Tenancies Act 1987 to complement the Restraining Orders and Related Legislation Amendment (Family Violence) Bill 2016, which was introduced into State Parliament in September this year.

"Family violence is a significant issue affecting the WA community and the Liberal National Government is committed to taking decisive action to address this problem, aimed at improving the safety of victims and holding perpetrators of violence accountable," Mr Mischin said.

"The options paper is looking at the interaction between tenancy laws and family violence orders to determine which reforms are necessary to better support victims of family violence when it occurs in a rental property.

"When a victim of family violence is forced to leave the home, the ramifications for the victim and their children can be significant.  Having to move out of the property can lead to homelessness, loss of employment, disruption to education for children, and physical and mental health issues.

"The aim of the options canvassed in the paper is to support a victim of family violence to remain in the home, wherever it is appropriate and safe to do so, rather than forcing them to leave.

"Fundamental to this aim is to ensure that the law and legal system, in relation to family violence and residential tenancies, work effectively together when they overlap.

"This means giving courts the power to make orders in respect of residential tenancy agreements, such as removing the perpetrator or victim from an existing tenancy agreement while allowing the other party to continue, terminating an agreement in its entirety or allocating liability for outstanding rent and damages.

"The Government wants to ensure that victims of violence in the home are supported, and do not suffer further as a result of tenancy laws, if they have to move out and break a lease or when damage is caused to the home by the perpetrator of the violence.

"We urge members of the public and interested parties to read the options paper and provide feedback while changes to tenancy laws are being considered, and before they are finalised."

Fact File

Attorney General and Commerce Minister's office - 6552 5600

Consumer Protection
Media release
28 Oct 2016

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