Calls for a much ‘simpler’ share house system

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ACT renting advocacy group, Better Renting, have called on the ACT Government to “do more” for those renting in a share house.

Providing feedback on proposed changes to legislation, Better Renting’s executive director Joel Dignam says the changes need “further work”.

The changes will aim to make it clear whether an agreement for accommodation is a residential tenancy or occupancy agreement. They would make it easier for tenants to move in or out of share houses without having to create a new lease.

Better Renting concerned about timeframes

Better Renting are expressing concern about the timeframes; the tenant would be required to provide 21 days’ notice of their intent to vacate the home, but no requirement has been set out for a response from the lessor or co-tenants in that 21 days, with the bill in its current form allowing lessors and co-tenants to refuse consent for the leaving co-tenant if the proposed leaving day is during the term of a fixed-term agreement.

“A lot of vulnerable renters live in share housing, and we’re glad to see an effort to make things simpler for these people,” Dignam says.

“However, the timeframes need work. 21 days may seem like a reasonable notice period before a share house tenant moves out. But c urrently there is no requirement for the landlord to respond in that time. This means that someone who wants to move out of a share house might have to wait 21 days before they even know whether they can move or not.”

Better Renting are calling on the ACT Government to, amongst other recommendations: ensure the bill stipulates that a co-tenant not be unreasonably refused an exit from the tenancy; and alter the timeframe for response from the lessor and co-tenants to seven days.

“While 21 days seems like a reasonable notice period before moving out, we believe the lessor should be required to respond within 7 days so that people don’t have to put their life on hold while they wait three weeks for a response.”

The bill also presents changes to occupancy agreement laws. Consultation on the proposed changes closed on Friday 24 January, with the final version of the bill to be introduced later this year.

 

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