Calls to increase notice period needed to kick tenants out of rentals
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Calls to increase notice period needed to kick tenants out of rentals

The ACT Greens want to increase the notice period tenants have to be given before being kicked out of a rental property.

The Greens housing spokeswoman Caroline Le Couteur said there should be a 12 week notice period for all people who, through no fault of their own, received notices of eviction.

The Greens want to see landlords give tenants 12 weeks' notice to terminate a lease in all situations.

The Greens want to see landlords give tenants 12 weeks' notice to terminate a lease in all situations. Credit:Graham Tidy

Currently, under the The Residential Tenancies Act, tenants can be kicked out anywhere from four weeks - if the landlord or a relative intend to move in - to 12 weeks, depending on the circumstances.

Ms Le Couteur said she had heard troubling stories of "retaliatory evictions", where good tenants requested reasonable repairs or maintenance happen, only to have their landlord terminate their lease with four weeks’ notice under the auspices of the landlord or a distant relative moving in.

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“We are concerned to hear that, in some cases, this never eventuates - leaving good tenants without a place to live, simply for requesting basic maintenance and upkeep," she said.

Ms Le Couteur said the proposal to require a 12 week notice period, except in exceptional circumstances, would provide good renters a reasonable buffer of time to ensure they can find a new place to live.

“Being given a month to find somewhere to live would be stressful for anyone, and all the more so if you have children or pets," she said.

With a vacancy rate in Canberra that’s well below the national average, and rising rents, our city’s housing sector is in crisis—making it even more difficult to find a place to live.”

Ms Le Couteur said the proposal would ensure landlords that intend to move in must apply for an exemption if they believe only four weeks’ notice is required.

If a landlord does wish to terminate a lease because they intend to move in, the Greens propose that landlords be required to lodge a statutory declaration with ACAT, providing detail of the name(s) of the new occupant(s) and the reason that a notice period of less than 12 weeks is required.

Daniella White is a reporter for The Canberra Times with a special focus on health issues