Improving the interaction between residential tenancy laws and family violence restraining orders

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Introduction

Tenancy laws in WA are under review as part of the Government’s family violence reform plan and community feedback is now invited. The purpose of this options paper is to seek stakeholder feedback into preferred drafting options to amend the Residential Tenancies Act 1987 so that victims of family violence are able to achieve better outcomes from the justice system in relation to their tenancy agreements.

Status: CLOSED 16 December 2016

Background

Family violence is a significant issue affecting the WA community and the Government is committed to taking decisive action to address this problem aimed at improving the safety of victims and holding perpetrators of violence accountable.   When a victim of family violence is forced to leave the home, the ramifications for the victim and their children that may be affected are far ranging. There is a risk of homelessness and having to move out can lead to loss of employment, disruption to education for children as well as impacts to physical and mental health. 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.

Current consultation phase

The Residential Tenancies Act 1987 needs to be amended to produce better outcomes for victims of domestic violence. Key stakeholders have an important role to play in assisting to address this very complex community issue by working with the Government to shape the required reforms to achieve the best possible outcomes in a manner that works consistently and coherently with other laws, and at the same time, do not unreasonably burden landlords.

Current recommendations (key points of the consultation)

Full details of the recommendations are in the report, however, the main changes being considered include:

  • giving power to the Magistrate to require a landlord to enter into a new agreement with the victim of family violence (effectively removing the perpetrator of the violence from the lease);
  • allowing the court to assign liability for any damage to the premises arising out of family violence to the perpetrator of the violence;
  • prohibiting the listing of a victim of family violence on a tenancy database; and
  • allowing a victim of family violence to change the locks and install other security without first having to seek the permission of the landlord.

Downloads and resources

Options paper

Improving the interaction between residential tenancy laws and family violence restraining orders

Download the options paper

Have your say

Opportunity for submissions have now closed. 

Enquiries

Enquiries can be made by calling Consumer Protection Advice Line on 1300 30 40 54 or by email.

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