11 February 2021

Call for ACT tenants to put up pictures and paint homes without landlord permission

| Glynis Quinlan
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The ACT Greens want tenants to be able to paint their homes and put up picture hooks without needing landlord permission.

The ACT Greens want tenants to be able to paint their homes and put up picture hooks without needing landlord permission.

The ACT Greens are calling for tenants to be able to ‘make a house a home’ by being permitted to make minor modifications to their rental properties without needing the consent of their landlords.

The proposed minor modifications or alterations include installing picture hooks and furniture anchors, painting and putting up shelving.

Sections 67 and 68 of the Residential Tenancies Act states that the “tenant must make no alterations and must not add any fixtures or fittings without the written consent of the lessor” but the alterations are not defined.

“The vast majority of renters do the right thing by their landlords—they pay rent on time, and they provide a not insubstantial bond as insurance,” said Greens Housing spokesperson Caroline Le Couteur.

“As long as any fixtures and fittings are removed at the end of the tenancy and any damage to the property rectified, then you shouldn’t need to seek out written permission from your landlord.

“This is all part of making a house a home,” Ms Le Couteur said.

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“The Greens are committed to ensuring there’s a reasonable balance between the rights of landlords and the rights of tenants, particularly at a time of housing crisis.”

According to Ms Le Couteur, almost one in three Canberrans (31.8 per cent) live in rental properties and recent research from the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute has found a national trend towards more private renters with children, more middle-aged renters, and more long-term renters (10+ years).

“There are also safety implications to consider,” Ms Le Couteur said.

“We don’t want renters to avoid implementing key safety actions, like securing furniture that could injure young children.”

Ms Le Couteur said that in France, Sweden, and Italy tenants have the right to make minor alterations and improvements to the property without asking the landlord’s permission.

“The Greens do have a range of concerns with gaps in the Residential Tenancies’ Act, which the community regularly tell us about,” Ms Le Couteur added.

“We know that the Attorney-General is bringing forward legislation very soon, so we will wait and see which issues the Government addresses in their bill. We look forward to drafting amendments to address these community concerns.”

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russianafroman12:09 pm 25 Feb 19

It’s not your house. Plain and simple. This will only result in less rental properties overall, which will mean less options for people and an increase in the rates people will pay. This is a pointless lose-lose situation.

That is a simple view of the world, that doesn’t take into any 2nd order effects.

Yes, some landlords may choose to no longer have rental properties and dispose of them. But greater supply of property in the market should then open opportunities, if prices drop (As increased supply often leads to) for people currently renting to become owner-occupiers, in itself a good outcome.

Its not a straightforward ‘lose lose’ situation as you suggest.

russianafroman6:47 pm 25 Feb 19

Where was it stated that this will result in a greater supply of property? As you admitted, landlords may (will) dispose of their rental properties. Your entire comment is based around an assertion that makes no sense. It doesn’t take a genius to realise that this law will scare away landlords even more than they already are, they’ll be far less likely to be willing to rent to people. This law doesn’t help anyone and is completely unneeded.

I’ve thought about renting out my unit and discovered everything is more expensive when you do, such as interest rates, insurance, rates (via the new tax) and of course management fees etc. Landlords don’t make much out of the deal.

I don’t see why this can’t be left as a negotiation. The tenant does not know what their changes could affect and some changes simply can’t be undone, e.g. the photo shows a tenant painting a masonry wall. If the landlord did not wan’t it painted it is almost impossible to get it back to original condition.

Apparently I need a FB account to reply to FB comments.

So to Rob Thomas who asked “And if they make it better?” the answer is “increase the rent” because the value of the property has risen.

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