October 3, 2023 7:11 am

NSW Introduces Rent Increase Limits to ‘Rebalance’ the System

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The New South Wales (NSW) government is considering radical changes to the rental market in an effort to address the issue of above-inflation rent increases. A discussion paper released on Friday outlines various measures, including the elimination of no-grounds evictions, the allowance of more pets in rentals, and the introduction of a portal bond scheme. These proposals build upon the rental reforms promised by the Minns government to better protect tenants.

One of the key ideas put forth in the discussion paper is the creation of a public database that tracks rent increases. This database aims to address a current loophole that allows landlords to implement multiple rent hikes in a single year. By making this information more transparent, it will be easier to identify instances of excessive rent increases. Additionally, the government is considering the requirement for landlords to offer tenants a free electronic payment method, further improving convenience for renters.

The urgency for these changes is highlighted by recent statistics. According to Domain, Sydney has experienced its fastest quarterly and annual rise in rents, with the median price for a unit now reaching $670 a week. These surging rental costs have contributed to an alarming situation where one in five renters in NSW are estimated to be living in poverty, as reported by the NSW Council for Social Service.

Adam Chanthivong, the Minister responsible for rental laws, emphasized the government’s commitment to creating a fair and balanced rental market. He stated, “We want to hear from everyone because renters and owners need each other, and they both need a fair set of rules.” Chanthivong plans to discuss the proposed changes during a public address from Edmondson Park in Sydney’s southwest.

To address the issue of excessive rent increases, the government is exploring several avenues. One approach involves collecting rent increase information and making it publicly available. Landlords or their agents may be required to report rent increases, or information may be gathered voluntarily from both landlords and tenants. Additionally, landlords may be required to demonstrate that a rent increase is not “excessive” by ensuring it does not surpass inflation over a certain period.

Feedback on the proposed changes outlined in the Improving NSW Rental Laws Consultation Paper is open until August 11. The government is actively seeking input from all stakeholders to ensure a fair and effective rental market for both landlords and tenants.

It is worth noting that the Minns government faced challenges with its previous rental reform attempt. The proposal to ban secret rent bidding was ultimately dropped after concerns were raised by both landlords and tenant advocates, who argued that it could worsen market conditions. However, other reforms, such as allowing tenants to transfer bonds between properties and prohibiting rent bidding solicitation by real estate agents and landlords, have successfully passed the parliament.

In the face of “out of control” rent increases, the Greens have called for an immediate two-year rent freeze to alleviate the financial strain on renters. They argue that this measure would provide relief and peace of mind for tenants who constantly worry about unfair rent hikes.

In conclusion, the NSW government is actively exploring radical changes to the rental market to address above-inflation rent increases. These proposed reforms aim to establish a fair and balanced rental market by eliminating no-grounds evictions, allowing more pets in rentals, and introducing a portal bond scheme. The government also intends to create a public database of rent increases, close loopholes allowing multiple rent hikes, and require landlords to offer electronic payment options. The recent surge in rental prices and the high number of renters living in poverty underscore the need for immediate action. Feedback on the proposed changes is encouraged, and the government is committed to hearing from all stakeholders to ensure the implementation of effective rental laws.

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Original Source: NSW Introduces Rent Increase Limits to ‘Rebalance’ the System

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