What RTA Reforms Mean for Landlords and Tenants: Clare's Radio Interview

June 20, 2023

“It has been in the pipeline for a long period of time. So it's giving that certainty to owners and tenants and being able to make informed decisions moving forward and knowing the rules of the game is great.” - Clare Christiansen

On the 26th of May 2023, the State government made a significant announcement regarding the reforms to the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA). The WA State Government has delivered a balanced approach to these changes and are set to positively impact both landlords and tenants alike.

To shed light on these reforms, our General Manager and REIWA Councillor, Clare Christiansen, was invited by Andrew Collins on the ABC Drive Show on 26th May 2023 to share her expert insights on the RTA reforms.

Proposed Changes to Residential Tenancy Laws in WA

Andrew Collins: Now up next, changes to residential tenancy laws in WA. If you're a landlord or tenant, we'd love to hear your views.

Andrew Collins: Several things. Rent bidding will be prohibited. Rent will only be able to be increased once a year instead of every six months. Tenants will be allowed to make minor modifications to properties, and landlords cannot say no to pets if Consumer Protection approves that note.

Andrew Collins: And no grounds evictions will stay in place. If you've got a comment to make, you'll hear from a property management company.

Andrew Collins: Clare Christiansen is the General Manager of Rent Choice, a property management company. Clare, good afternoon to you. 

Clare Christiansen: Hi, Andrew. How are you?  

Andrew Collins: Good, thank you. What's your assessment of the broad range of changes here?  

Clare Christiansen: [Look] we're definitely welcoming today's announcement. It has been in the pipeline for a long period of time. So it's giving that certainty to owners and tenants, making informed decisions moving forward, and knowing the rules of the game is great. So it's definitely something that we've been waiting on, and to have some announcements today is very well appreciated.


Landlords on Tenant Eviction

Andrew Collins: Okay, and what about the fact that a landlord can still evict a tenant without giving a reason? So that's staying, unlike in some other jurisdictions in Australia. What is your view on that? 

Clare Christiansen: Again, [look] it is a major win for the investors because, as Miss Ellery said, that, [you know], we do have a very different build-up of how our ownerships look. Our industry is, you know, very predominantly mining. Therefore, our tenants move more fluidly like our owners. Having this availability to decide on their investment property gives them the confidence to move forward and manage their asset accordingly.

Andrew Collins: And what impact do these reforms have on the number of homes that will be up for rent or the number of properties? 

Clare Christiansen: Well, the conversation I've been having with many investors has been around that uncertainty. They didn't know what was happening in this space and what had been happening for so long. So, [you know] I think people will better understand what they can do and how their future will look if they own a property or even if they're a tenant. It also means, [you know], if you've got a fixed term lease in place, you know, that you've got that security of that fixed term lease. 

Freedom to Have Pets and Make Minor Modifications to Rental Properties

Andrew Collins: What do you think the reaction, or what's your reaction, I should ask, about the easier for pets to be in rental properties? Given that the current pet bond is $260, what's your take on this? 

Clare Christiansen: Okay, so we already have a lot of pets in properties. So there's not going to be much of a change regarding the number of pets that I think will be in properties. There's still the ability to have a compelling reason to say no to a pet if an owner doesn't want to and I'm assuming that's going to be around like if you've got 101 Dalmatians in an apartment or something like that. That's probably where it's going to come into play. 

Clare Christiansen: But investors generally want two things, rent paid on time and [being] properly taken care of, and tenants want a long-term secure property and know that they can make it feel like home, and pets are definitely something that do that. So I think, [you know] we're obviously waiting for finer details on the bond side of things. Currently, the existing bond is only $260 and is for fumigation. It doesn't really or it doesn't cover pet damage. But again, it's about maintaining the property. So doing regular inspections and looking at the property regularly, and if there are issues from a pet being there, bring it up with the tenant then and there, rather than waiting it out. So I don't think lots of owners have issues with pets. I think it's more a case of making sure that the property is well-maintained. 

Andrew Collins: Okay, we'll leave it there. Clare Christiansen, General Manager of Rent Choice, a property management company.


As an industry expert and REIWA Councillor, Clare provided valuable insights into the benefits and possible challenges associated with the proposed reforms. The discussion also highlighted the potential impact of these changes on both landlords and tenants in the rental market.

With Rent Choice’s leadership team representation on industry committees and REIWA Council, their insight into real estate policy will assist landlords and tenants to navigate these changes in the coming months.