Greens Bill to give renters a whole new lease on life

The Greens are championing legislation that would improve life for the 28.5% of South Australians who live in rental accommodation.

A Bill to amend the Residential Tenancies Act has been introduced into State Parliament by Greens MLC Mark Parnell to:

• Prevent tenants from being evicted without reason;
• Ensure landlords disclose all relevant information to tenants before they sign a lease;
• Ensure rental properties meet minimum standards such as security, privacy, functional kitchens, toilets and hot water;
• Prevent rental bidding, which drives up rent affordability;
• Create a register of landlords and agents who breach rental laws.

“Having a roof over your head and a place to call home is one of our most basic human rights.” he said. “People deserve a safe and secure home that lets them live with dignity without the harassment and stress of arbitrary eviction.

“The current ability for landlords to easily evict renters for no reason has created uncertainty and stress for people about where they’re going to be living in 6 to 12 months’ time, especially for families with school-age children.

“This Bill will give South Australians the peace of mind they need when they’re renting and will stop landlords from unfairly evicting tenants.”

The new legislation was informed by stories of people living in fear of being discriminated against, evicted, or even blacklisted for bringing urgent repairs or other issues with the property to attention.

Julianne was one renter who contacted Mark Parnell’s office to share her experience: “The property had an issue with water leaking in the shower. Fungus the size of a dinner plate grew from the wall – The baby suffered breathing issues and was put on asthmatic medication.”

Another renter, Christine, told of how a maintenance issue was very slow to fix: “The roof became mouldy after the first year as the leaking roof made the ceiling mouldy in three places. This was fixed after three years by the property owner.”

“We’ve heard horror stories from South Australians who rent in appalling conditions and live in fear of being evicted just for asking for repair. Given the current economic climate, accessible, affordable and secure long-term rental options have never been more important,” he concluded.