Pressure mounts in the ACT over tenancy laws

A new coalition of organisations is calling on the ACT government to make laws fairer for renters.

A group of community organisations will on Monday launch MakeRenting Fair CBR Alliance, calling for law reforms to the Residential Tenancies Act.

A new coalition of groups is calling for increased protections for renters.  Photo: supplied

A new coalition of groups is calling for increased protections for renters. Photo: supplied

The groups - the Tenants' Union ACT, Unions ACT, Better Renting and Shelter ACT - are calling on the government to give renters more rights.

Their calls include preventing unfair evictions, introducing fairer rent increase requirements and establishing minimum standards for rental properties.

Tenants’ Union ACT executive officer Deb Pippen said the changes were needed because more people were renting for longer, including families and retirees.

“We need to make renting fair in recognition of the fact that a growing number of people are renting for life,” she said.

Unions ACT secretary Alex White said housing prices continued to rise while wages stagnated.

“More workers are renting in Canberra, and they are facing unfair rental increases and being forced to accept unsafe, substandard houses," he said,

Better Renting executive director Joel Dignam said: "We’re asking Minister Ramsay to bring a bit of balance back to the system.

“The government has a responsibility to make sure that all members of our community can have a decent home.”

Following Monday’s launch, the Alliance will mobilise renters in support of changing the laws, starting Sunday through a series of ‘TenantTalks’.

The campaign will involve supporting renters to tell their own stories of renting in the ACT and what needs to change.

The group said several other jurisdictions are already improving tenancy laws to make renting fairer, including Victoria, where renters gained the right to have a pet and to make minor modifications.

Last week, the NSW Parliament began debating changes to their tenancy laws.

It comes after the Greens earlier this month called for new legislation to better protect renters.

They called for an increased notice period tenants have to be given before being kicked out of a rental property.