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Changes to the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) with Regards to Family Domestic Violence (FDV)

 In General

For some time there has been a major focus in Australia around the rising incidents involving Family Domestic Violence. For over two years the Western Australian government and real estate industry have been working together to help victims and essentially the need to save lives. On 15 April 2019 the changes to the RTA with reference to FDV legislation came into effect.

What is family and domestic violence?

Family and domestic violence is a crime. It is behaviour that results in physical, sexual and/or psychological damage, forced isolation, economic deprivation, or causes the victim(s) to live in fear. It can be experienced by people of all classes, religions, ethnicity, ages, abilities and sexual preference.

Examples of criminal offences in FDV situations include assault, sexual assault, making threats to a person’s safety, stalking, damaging or stealing property, harming a person’s pet and breaching restraining orders.

In many cases, the affected tenant(s) and the perpetrator may live together, however the perpetrator does not have to be living in the same house for the situation to qualify as FDV.

Tenants affected by family and domestic violence are able to terminate a tenancy quickly and legally, remove the perpetrator from the agreement, change locks without permission and have the right to improve security.

Tenants affected by family and domestic violence are now able to:

  • GO – leave a tenancy agreement without going to court and with as little as seven (7) days’ notice (they can leave right away for safety but will need to pay rent until the end of the notice period)
  • STAY – apply to court to have a perpetrator’s name removed from a lease
  • Make a rental home safer through lock changes or security upgrades
  • Sort out disputes about property damage, unpaid rent or bonds
  • Seek removal from, or avoid being listed on, a tenancy database if the listing was because of FDV.

DMIRS, the real estate governing body here in WA has provided extensive information for you as the landlord, please see this link.

Here at The Property Exchange the Property Management Department have completed all Compulsory Professional Development (CPD) courses required by DMIRS surrounding these changes and we have implemented the appropriate systems and procedures, so you can be sure that if an unfortunate event like this affects one of your tenants, that we are here to guide and assist you.

Should you have any queries please do feel free to contact The Property Exchange.

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