McG posting an excellent article in our forums so I thought I would post it in here for all to see.
I’d read some horror stories with some of the slightly more dodgy realestate agents requesting large sums up front whilst not passing on the funds to the home owner. This will be useful for us to know when we first start renting properties in Perth and for anyone else who may be planning to rent properties in Australia in the near future:
Further to reading posts saying that ‘6 months’ rent had been asked for up front’, I decided to contact REBA and find out exactly what is legal and what isn’t.
Please note that if a prospective tenant decides to ‘offer’ 6 months’ (or x number of months’ rent) and the agent accepts this, the agent hasn’t done anything wrong. However, an agent cannot ASK a prospective tenant for this money up front. Anyway, this was the response to my email, which discussed my concern at people in W.A. and specifically Perth being asked for a lot of money up front. I hope this helps those moving across to Perth when it comes to renting.
Original E-mail response from REBA
Thank you for your email. Your query has been forwarded to me for a response on behalf of Consumer Protection.
The simple answer to your query is
“No, neither agents nor owners (private landlords) are able to require (ask) for anything other than two weeks rent in advance, a security bond (equivalent of 4 weeks rent maximum), pet bond (maximum $100 in total) and perhaps a letting fee (agents only).”
The Residential Tenancies Act 1987 (WA), section 27(1) provides that “Subject to subsection (2), a person shall not require or receive from a tenant or prospective tenant any monetary consideration for or in relation to entering into, renewing, extending or continuing a residential tenancy agreement other than rent and a security bond.”
Subsection (2) provides for some exceptions to the above.
Section 28(1) of the Act provides that “A person shall not require before or during the first 2 weeks of the tenancy under a residential tenancy agreement as rent under the agreement an amount exceeding 2 weeks’ rent.”
Section 28(2) of the Act provides that “A person shall not require any payment of rent
(other than the first payment) under a residential tenancy agreement until the period of the tenancy in respect of which any previous payment has been made has elapsed.”
I have taken the liberty of enclosing a copy of the latest publications relating to tenancies in WA. One is written from the tenant’s point of view and the second from the owner’s.
Should any of your contacts experience a situation whereby the agent/landlord/owner is requiring or has requested any amount in excess of the two weeks rent, security bond
(equivalent of 4 weeks rent), pet bond ($100 max) or a letting fee (only agents can ask)
then we would want to advise that an option they may wish to consider would be to complete a written complaint form (also attached) and provide all documentation/evidence so that Consumer Protection can examine this matter further.
I hope the above has been of assistance to you. More detailed forms and information can be
obtained from the DOCEP website at: www.docep.wa.gov.au or by phoning the general
enquiries line on 1300 30 40 54.