You are here

Workplace Safety and Consumer Affairs – Tenancy

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Monday, 5 June 2023

Tags: Tenant Rights, State Budget

Ms O'CONNOR - It is good to hear that question from the Chair and also your openness to amendment. We would argue there is a whole lot that needs to be amended in the Residential Tenancy Act to strengthen tenants' rights.

Moving along, what is the total amount of funds held in the Rental Deposit Authority as at June 2023 or the nearest available date which data is available and June 30 2022? What is the annual income generated by the bond holdings and in relation to these funds, how much interest is being earned and is it being used to fund additional services?

Ms WEBSTER - As at 1 June 2023 there were 46 452 bonds held. The value of those bonds was $63.7 million.

Ms O'CONNOR - And as at 30 June 2022?

Ms WEBSTER - As at June 2022 was $59 million, or 45 597 active bonds.

Ms O'CONNOR - How many complaints have been received by the Residential Tenancy Commissioner of an unfair rent increase? What number of cases were investigated in the 2021-22 financial and the 2022-23 financial. I am happy to put any of this on notice if it is not readily available, so we can get onto other people's questions.

Ms ARCHER - I am happy for Ms Butt to interpret her data so I don't get it wrong.

Ms BUTT - For the period 1 July 2022 to 31 March 2023 the Rental Tenancy Commissioner received 42 unreasonable rent increases, noting 16 of these were from one single social housing address.

Ms O'CONNOR - When you say one single social housing address, you mean one home? Or one area and one provider?

Ms BUTT - One location.

Ms O'CONNOR - That would be Mission at Rokeby and Clarendonvale? Mission Australia?

Ms BUTT - No.

Ms O'CONNOR - Thank you for that. Have there been outcomes or adverse findings against any landlords after these investigations have been undertaken?

Ms BUTT - In relation to the applications for unreasonable rents, four were assessed as unreasonable, 18 were assessed as reasonable, 14 were determined to be partially unreasonable with a reduced amount ordered. Four were withdrawn and one lodged outside of the statutory time limit of 60 days.

Ms O'CONNOR - Just to be clear so we understand what happens. When the residential tenancy commissioner finds the rent increase is unreasonable, what happens to the landlords claim then?

Ms BUTT - An order's issued and the rent cannot be increased.

Ms O'CONNOR - Have been any oversight and enforcement measures undertaken by the Residential Tenancy Commissioner in the past two financial years?

Ms ARCHER - Dealing with infringements?

Ms O'CONNOR - Oversight and enforcement measures.

Ms BUTT - I can advise we did issue seven infringement notices, two of those were then withdrawn so there was 5 across the board, but that would be for a range of measures under the act for that period of time.

Ms O'CONNOR - Can you confirm then that the 16 complaints about an unfair rent increase related a community housing provider?

Ms BUTT - It did relate to one provider and in that particular case. It was deemed that the rent increase was reasonable.

Ms O'CONNOR - The rent increase, was it more than 25 per cent of income?

Ms BUTT - No. The dispute came down the interpretation of market rent and the independent assessment of market rent, the tenants at the facility had a view that that was not an appropriate assessment. The commissioner determined that it was, so it was then a percentage of the market value.

Ms ARCHER - Can I just add something. Where we were just talking about 42 unreasonable rent increase applications. You will find that you were one short because one did not relate to an increase in rent.

Ms O'CONNOR - There are 42 unreasonable rent applications and one complaint about another matter?

Ms ARCHER - Just so your figures add up, I just noticed that wasn't said.