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Friday, May 14, 2021

ACT Renting Book updated amid rental crisis

The Government has released an updated ACT Renting Book, containing information for renters about their rights within the ACT system.

“It will be a useful resource to tenants, including those moving to Canberra at the beginning of the year for study or work,” ACT Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury said.

“The book will also help landlords and real estate agents to make sure that properties are managed appropriately and in accordance with the law.”

The public resource has been updated to reflect recent legislative changes concerning renters but won’t contain any of the temporary measures introduced in the ACT to help tenants and landlords through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Better Renting executive director Joel Dignam says the ACT Government should ensure landlords and agents are aware of their obligations when it comes to tenancy agreements.

Better Renting’s Joel Dignam said the ACT Renting Book is a great resource for Canberra renters but suggested the ACT Government also make sure both landlords and agents are aware of their obligations when it comes to tenancy agreements.

Under the Residential Tenancies Act, landlords are required to provide a copy of the book to tenants or advise them of where they can get a copy before their tenancy commences.

Mr Dignam said while the ACT Government has some good measures underway to help renters in the ACT, such as a commitment to more affordable housing and minimum energy efficiency standards for rental properties, there needs to be more urgency.

“The right signs are there… but this is a fundamental responsibility of a government to ensure people can have a home that’s secure and affordable, so this really should be something where we are seeing rapid action.”

Canberra is Australia’s most expensive city to rent with average rents at $600 per week for houses and $495 for units, according to Domain’s December 2020 rental report.

SQM Research put the ACT’s residential vacancy rate at 0.8% for January this year.

“The situation we have in the ACT reflects a trend of governments [both Federal and local] failing to take responsibility to ensure there’s enough homes for people in their community,” Mr Dignam said.

“This is what happens when governments step back and just leave it to the market, which is always going to prioritise profits over the need to provide homes.”

The updated ACT Renting Book can be found here.

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