The pendulum is swinging in favour of tenants!
The New South Wales government has appointed its first rental commissioner, Trina Jones, in an effort to "rebalance" the market and protect the rights of renters.
Jones, the former chief executive of Homelessness Australia, is said to have a wealth of experience in the housing sector, and her employers (the NSW government) feel she is well-placed to tackle the challenges facing renters in NSW.
One of the biggest challenges facing renters in NSW is the affordability of housing.
Rents have risen steadily in recent years and are now at an all-time high in many parts of the state.
This has made it difficult for many people to afford to rent a home, leading to increased homelessness.
Another challenge facing renters is the lack of security of tenure.
In NSW, landlords can evict tenants for a variety of reasons, including if they want to sell the property or if they want to move in themselves.
The common argument at present is that this can make it difficult for tenants to plan for the future, and it can leave them feeling insecure.
But of course, the counterargument is that a rental provider should be able to sell their asset or move back into their home at the end of a lease if they want to – shouldn’t they?
Jones has said that she is committed to addressing these challenges.
She said she intended in her new position to improve the rental market's fairness and strengthen renters' rights.
“I look forward to working closely and productively with government, industry, renters and owners across our state as we collaboratively search for solutions to our housing challenges,” she said.
Ms Jones will also lead consultations between the government and stakeholders over possible policy changes including ending no-grounds eviction, the implementation of a portable bonds scheme and making it easier for renters to have pets.
This is the legislation that governs the rental market in NSW.
Jones has said that she wants to make sure that the act is fair and balanced and that it protects the rights of both renters and landlords.
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Now that sounds fair, but let’s see what transpires.
Jones will also need to work with the government to develop new policies to address the challenges facing renters.
She will need to examine the challenges of affordability and security of tenure, the lack of supply of rental properties, promoting longer-term rental agreements, exploring energy efficiency solutions, creating educational resources for renters and owners, and monitoring existing tenancy laws.
Clearly, the new rental commissioner has a challenging task ahead of her.
Ms Jones’ inaugural appointment to the role was welcomed by renters advocacy group Tenants’ Union NSW, who expressed their optimism that adding the new sectoral figure will “elevate the conversation” about renting in the state.
Premier Minns said he is looking forward to working with the new commissioner to make the state “a fairer place for both renters and owners.”
“We can’t fix years of problems in the rental market overnight, but we have already made a start and are determined to do more.”
Now more than ever it’s important to have a professional property manager looking after your interests.
At Metropole Property Management we have experienced significant changes in legislation in both Victoria and QLD, and will be able to help out clients in NSW as there is little doubt in my mind the new commissioner will amend the residential tenancies legislation in that state.
After all, that's her mandate, isn't it?
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