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Residential Tenancies Act amendments a significant step for renters' rights

The South Australian Council of Social Service today welcomed the passage through SA Parliament of amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act. The amendments provide greater rights for renters living in up to 190,000 SA households, including:  

  • An end to no cause evictions (tenants can now only be evicted for prescribed reasons, not simply because the landlord wants a change) 
  • Making it easier for renters to own a pet  
  • Increasing the notice period for a non-renewal of a fixed term lease  
  • Greater support for victims of domestic violence  
  • Improving water billing transparency and bringing SA more in to line with other states and past SA practice. 

The review of the Act began last year, and smaller changes were made in legislation in June. The final bill was passed in the lower house on 15 November.

On Friday (24 November) SACOSS, along with Uniting Communities, Better Renting, the Anti-Poverty Network and Shelter SA, wrote to all MLCs asking them to pass the bill as quickly as possible. It was passed today by the Legislative Council with the support of the Greens and SA Best. 

Quotes attributable to SACOSS Director of Policy and Advocacy, Dr Rebecca Tooher 

This bill represents a significant step for South Australian renters’ rights and support for tenants. We welcome any legislation improving conditions for renters, particularly for those on low incomes. Some of the issues affecting renters have been around for a long time, so it is good that parliament moved quickly to give renters greater certainty before the Christmas break.

The importance of ending no-cause evictions can’t be overstated. It gives renters greater security of tenure so they can live more stable lives, and it will allow them to ask for repairs and negotiate with landlords without a fear of losing their home at their next lease renewal.

There remain further areas for improvement. SACOSS will continue to advocate for rent capping and for minimum energy efficiency standards, but today we congratulate Minister for Consumer and Business Affairs Andrea Michaels and the Malinauskas government on these significant reforms. We also thank SA Best, and particularly the Greens for supporting the bill through parliament and for their achievement of funding for a tenants’ advocacy organisation

Published Date: 
Wednesday, 29 November 2023