To Make Renting Fair let’s
- Require periodic third party inspection regime
- Introduce transparency between tenancies regarding repair, maintenance and orders of the tribunal.
Renters have different priorities when they balance price, location and the features of a rental property. However, there are some basic requirements for every rental home that need to be enforced to help make rental properties a home.
- Homes which are safe and in good condition have a positive effect on a person’s well-being. These basic standards can include having privacy, security, accessibility, sanitation, drainage, ventilation, water and energy supply, facilities and storage.
- Homes with good energy and water efficiency have a positive impact on reducing housing costs. Renters bear the cost of energy and water use without the ability to make changes to key efficiency features such as insulation, window coverings, efficient cooking, heating and cooling appliances.
The benefits to lessors of meeting basic standards for rental homes include maintaining the amenity and value of the property, attracting and retaining good tenants, and maintaining good relationships with tenants. In the Australian Capital Territory, homes with a 7-star rating (under the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme), command a measurable premium at point of sale because of the mandatory disclosure program.
Lessors are already responsible to provide and keep the property in good repair and fit to live in. In 2017, the Queensland government amended the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 to allow for the introduction of prescribed minimum housing standards in rental properties. The amendment will only be effective once the regulations clearly identify what standards are to be met (e.g. adequate ventilation, adequate sanitation). For the basic standards to be effective however, there must also be:
- clear guidance for tenants about their rights and what to do if their landlord is not meeting their obligations
- an independent, third party that can monitor compliance, take and investigate complaints, resolve disputes and enforce requirements.
- clear guidance to help lessors understand their obligations and how to meet them, with mandatory disclosure