New laws to limit rent rises, make it easier for tenants to have pets
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New laws to limit rent rises, make it easier for tenants to have pets

The ACT government will introduce new measures this week that it says will benefit Canberra renters.

Attorney-General Gordon Ramsay said the legislation would provide better support and protection.

Changes include making it easier for tenants to have pets in rental properties, allowing tenants to make modifications, and limiting rent increases.

Mr Ramsay said the new laws would include:

  • Creating a presumption in favour of allowing tenants to have pets.
  • Strengthening renters’ rights to make basic modifications, including using blu tack and picture hooks.
  • When tenants break leases, changing the practice of landlords charging amounts beyond what they have had to spend when a tenant leaves early, especially when there is a replacement tenant.
  • Shifting the onus from tenants to landlords to justify a rental increase that is "excessive beyond a basic CPI-based threshold".
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Mr Ramsay said there would still be room for landlords to raise rent to adjust to market conditions, but the default would be that rent increases should be in line with a set formula.

"The ACT government is committed to making sure that people, especially vulnerable people, in our community have the protections they need in the rental market," Mr Ramsay said.

The announcement comes a week after the ACT Greens called for tenants to be allowed to make minor changes, such as putting up picture frames, without the written consent of the landlord.

Greens Caroline Le Couteur urged for tenants to be able to secure furniture after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in July estimated 2600 Australians need hospital treatment due to toppling furniture and televisions each year.

Han Nguyen reports on property for The Canberra Times. She joined the Times in 2017 after working as a breaking news reporter at The Sydney Morning Herald.

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