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Maitland MP backs Labor to deliver fairer rental rules

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Maitland tenants will benefit from fairer rental rules if Labor triumphs in next year’s state election, according to Jenny Aitchison.

The local MP said the party, if successful on 25 March 2023, would make significant changes to the status quo to provide more certainty to 32,109 residents in the electorate, as well as reduce the upfront moving costs.

Labor will also allow renters in Maitland to directly transfer bonds from one property to another. 

“This is a sensible cost of living measure to help ease the pressure on over 30% of people in NSW currently renting,” Ms Aitchison said.

“Anyone who rents knows just how anxious and challenging a process it can be to find a place to rent, never mind the significant expenses associated with moving.

“In fact, that [moving house] is one of life’s most stressful events.

 “Labor’s proposals will give renters and owners more certainty, allowing renters to build a home while also protecting owners.

“Introducing reasons for eviction will update and modernise NSW’s rental laws, too, and bring us in line with most other states.”

Currently, median rent in the state has increased almost 10% between 2016 and 2021 – from $386 to $420.

And, 35% of tenants indicated they had payments greater than 30% of household income.

Portable bonds

Ms Aitchison said a Labor government would streamline the rental bond process in NSW to allow renters to directly transfer bonds from one property to another, while ensuring owners still have access to funds they may need.

“Currently, many renters must find thousands of dollars for a bond for a new property before their existing bond has been refunded,” she explained.

“This leaves renters out of pocket up to several thousand dollars, for up to several weeks.

“It places many of them in financial stress and forces some to take out personal loans.”

The NSW Tenants Union estimates the basic costs of moving home is about $4,000, without taking into account renters being out of pocket for weeks while they wait for their bond to be refunded.

Yet recent data shows that one-in-three people would need to go into debt to cover an unexpected $600 payment, and one-in-10 simply wouldn’t be able to cover it.

The NSW Rental Bond Board will still hold bonds on trust.

But, it will allow those bonds to be held on trust for the new property, while also ensuring the board can collect against it on behalf of owners for outstanding debt accrued by renters for property damage.

As a result, no owners will be left out of pocket from these changes.

Despite legislation introduced in 2018, many renters still don’t have access to portable bonds, at a time of record rent increases and severe cost of living pressures.

Reasonable grounds for ending a lease

Labor will clearly outline the grounds on which a lease may be terminated and in effect bring an end to no-ground evictions.

“We’ll will work closely with stakeholder and advocacy groups to develop a list of reasonable grounds for an owner to end a tenancy, including minimum notice to vacate a property,” Ms Aitchison said.

“Owners will retain common sense rights to evict those who are breaking the law, damaging property or not paying rent.

“Reasonable grounds for eviction are already in place in Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania and the ACT – and these changes would modernise laws in NSW.”

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