WA introduces tenancy laws to protect victims of domestic violence

The WA Government have introduced tenancy laws to better protect tenants experiencing family and domestic violence.

The Residential Tenancies Legislation Amendment (Family Violence) Bill provides more options and greater support for people who experience family and domestic violence.

The new laws aim to give victims better choices, including whether to stay in the tenancy or move to safer accommodation, or remove tenancy-related concerns, which are barriers to leaving a violent relationship.

The legislation allows victims to:

  • Terminate a tenancy agreement within seven days by providing the landlord with evidence of domestic violence, such as a restraining order or a letter from a medical professional, removing the need to go to court;
  • Stay in the home if they choose - they will be able to apply to the court to have the perpetrator’s name removed from the tenancy agreement;
  • Change the locks immediately, without permission from their landlord;
  • Install CCTV security at their rental home, at their own cost; and
  • Access provisions to deal with property damage, unpaid rent and disbursement of the bond to ensure the victim does not carry the financial burden after a tenancy ends.

Prevention of family and domestic violence minister Simone McGurk said the laws would give victims the ability to terminate their tenancy agreement in just seven days.

“Victims will also be able to make security modifications to a rental property to make their homes safer," she said.

“This government is committed to supporting victims of family and domestic violence. These changes to our tenancy laws are about making sure women and children are safe and secure."

Commerce minister John Quigley said the changes were long overdue and put WA at the forefront of family and domestic violence residential tenancy law across Australia.

Mr Quiqley said the state government wanted to make sure that people experiencing violence in the home were well-supported and did not suffer further because of inflexible tenancy laws.

This story New laws for victims of domestic violence in WA first appeared on Busselton-Dunsborough Mail.