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The Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA) warned that a raft of changes to the state’s residential tenancy laws would only plunge the region deeper into a rental crisis.
The state’s peak body rang the alarm following the publication of the results of a recent study, which revealed that 61 per cent of the investors would exit the state’s rental market if major changes to Western Australia’s residential tenancy laws were adopted.
The survey of 7,000 investors was conducted by Synergies Economic Consulting and is part of an in-depth analysis of the economic impact of proposed reforms to the Residential Tenancies Act (1987).
Specifically, the advisory firm’s study focused on two proposals that have been a specific point of contention for the sector.
First, the study looked into the possible implications if the proposal to remove the right of a property owner to evict a tenant without grounds was greenlit by the state’s government.
The study also focused on the potential ripple effect if the state passes the law that will allow tenants to do modifications on a rental space without having to request approval from the property owner.
The independent economic analysis’ results are in — and it’s far from reassuring for the rental market.
In its report, Synergies Economic Consulting cautioned that passing the proposals into law would impose numerous costs on the wider economy and result in “unintended consequences for the WA rental market”.
The analysis showed that one of the most significant effects would be that tenants in Western Australia would have to pay up to an additional $105 million in increased rent annually.
It also revealed an estimated $142.5 million more in increased property management costs would be incurred each year across the rental sector.
REIWA president Damian Collins said the findings were “deeply concerning” and highlighted that both tenants and owners would be in a less advantageous position if the proposals were legislated.
The report uncovered that owners and tenants of low-priced properties would be disproportionately affected by the proposed reforms, with low-income tenants expected to face higher rents and have a harder time finding housing.
He said that while the proposals were well intended, the pay-off will be insignificant when compared to its negative consequences.
“These proposals would make renting more difficult and expensive for tenants, while simultaneously stripping investors of their rights and pushing up property management fees,” he said.
The executive of the state’s peak real estate body will put added pressure on the state’s already struggling rental market.
“There are fewer than 2,500 properties currently available for rent in and vacancy rates across the state are at or near record lows. Now is not the time to introduce reforms that would further discourage investors from buying in WA,” Mr Collins said.