Take a closer look at ten­ancy laws

Pilbara News - - Pilbara Opinion - Gwyn­neth Haywood Gwyn­neth Haywood is a se­nior re­gional of­fi­cer at Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion.

A re­cent court case has high­lighted the need for pri­vate land­lords, real es­tate agents and prop­erty man­agers in WA to be aware of their obli­ga­tions un­der ten­ancy laws.

In the case, Bozena Sakowski was fined $7200 by the Perth Mag­is­trate’s Court af­ter she pleaded guilty to 24 breaches of ten­ancy laws while act­ing as a land­lady.

The charges re­lated to fail­ure to lodge a se­cu­rity bond with the bond ad­min­is­tra­tor, fail­ure to pro­vide re­ceipts for the bond, fail­ure to use the cor­rect forms and in­for­ma­tion when en­ter­ing into a writ­ten ten­ancy agree­ment, and fail­ure to pro­vide prop­erty con­di­tion re­ports.

Sakowski took bond money in cash and kept it in her safe or had it de­posited di­rectly into her bank ac­count. This is il­le­gal.

Un­der the Res­i­den­tial Ten­an­cies Act, all se­cu­rity bonds must be lodged with the bond ad­min­is­tra­tor at the De­part­ment of Com­merce within 14 days and within a month ten­ants will re­ceive con­fir­ma­tion their bond has been lodged.

Stan­dard lease agree­ments were in­tro­duced in 2013 to en­sure fair­ness in the rental mar­ket and to pro­vide clar­ity about the rights and obli­ga­tions of both ten­ants and land­lords.

Sakowski also used a 2005 REIWA ten­ancy agree­ment form and cre­ated her own lease agree­ment, which in­cluded im­proper con­di­tions, such as no chil­dren be­ing al­lowed to visit the prop­erty.

Learn about rights and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties by re­view­ing Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion’s web­pages and videos at www.com­merce.wa.gov.au/ ten­ancy. The forms are avail­able to down­load and use at no cost.

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