Standing Committee on Legislation Supports quick termination of tenancies for people experiencing family violence

The Legislative Council’s Standing Committee on Legislation yesterday released its report into the Residential Tenancies Legislation Amendment (Family Violence) Bill 2018.

The Report makes three conclusions that members of the Committee:

  • Support the policy of the Bill
  • Are satisfied that the Bill reflects the policy intent for persons experiencing family violence to quickly terminate their tenancy and;
  • Recommend the Bill be passed subject to 11 minor recommendations.

Shelter WA, REIWA and Tenancy WA welcome the findings and conclusions of this important legislative review report. All three organisations have collaborated on this policy reform to strike the balance for landlords and tenants experiencing family violence.

This reform process is critical to ensure that victims of family or domestic violence can ensure they have safe and secure housing. The WA Police Force has reported that in the year to September 2018, there have been over 22,000 family violence related offences and over 11,000 breaches of violence restraint orders.

Since September 2008, there has been an increase of over 143 per cent alone in family violence assaults.[1]

In terms of threatening behaviour in a family violence context, there has been an increase of 175 per cent since September 2008 to September 2018.[2]

CEO Shelter WA, Ms Michelle Mackenzie said “This is a sensible response to the issues that face victims of family and domestic violence. This enables those victims to respond quickly to their personal circumstances and provide them with greater housing security. I’d like to congratulate the McGowan Government for progressing this critical reform.”

REIWA President, Mr Damian Collins said “REIWA welcomes the findings of the Committee’s report and its well-balanced approach to all parties. Through a robust consultation process, the Bill is now best placed to serve those who need to leave situation of family violence while also protecting essential property rights. REIWA welcomes these reforms and urges the WA Government to pass the bill as swiftly as possible, so these positive changes can take effect.

Ms Kate Davis, Principal Solicitor at Tenancy WA said “Domestic Violence provisions in the Residential Tenancies Act has been our number one law reform priority for the past 4 years, and these reforms will be critical to preventing homelessness resulting from domestic violence. We look forward to working with government to implement these reforms as soon as possible.”

We all call on the WA Parliament to ensure the swift passage of this important Bill.

Ends

Media Contacts:
Michelle Mackenzie, CEO of Shelter WA, 0419 931 819.
Damian Collins, President of REIWA,
Kate Davis, Principal Solicitor at Tenancy WA,

[1] WA Police Force Crime Statistics, 2018, https://www.police.wa.gov.au/Crime/CrimeStatistics#/ accessed 30 October 2018.

[2] Ibid.