Residential tenants

If you are renting a private home (whether it is a house, apartment or unit), public housing, or community housing you most likely have a residential tenancy.

The Residential Tenancies Act 1987 (WA) sets out the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords, as well as providing the process for settling disputes. The Act applies, even if you don't have a formal lease or anything in writing.

Legal Aid WA does not give advice or help about residential tenancies or commercial leases.

This information will help you to understand:

  • who isn't covered by residential tenancy law
  • what you can do if you have been treated unfairly
  • how you can resolve a tenancy dispute, and
  • where you can get help and more information.

Who isn't covered by the Residential Tenancies Act 1987 (WA)?

Some renters who are not covered by the Act include:

  • boarders and lodgers
  • long-stay caravan and park home residents
  • hotels/motels
  • retirement village residents
  • students living in accommodation provided by an educational institution (like a university), or by a not for profit body, unless the accommodation is covered under the Residential Tenancies Regulations 1989 (WA).
  • holiday accommodation
  • hospitals and nursing homes
  • commercial tenancies such as business leases and shops.

If you have any doubt about whether your rental situation is covered by the Act, call the Consumer Protection Advice Line on 1300 30 40 54.

What if I think I have been discriminated against?

It is illegal for landlords or real estate agents to discriminate against tenants (or potential tenants) on the basis of race, sex, marital status, disability, age and sexuality. If you think you have been discriminated against, get legal advice.

How do I resolve my tenancy dispute?

Obtain information and advice  

You should first carefully read the terms of your tenancy agreement. Try to obtain as much information and advice as you can about your tenancy problem. Details of organisations who give advice and information about tenancies are included at the end of this page under Get help and More information.

Discuss the issue with your landlord

Try to resolve any problems with your landlord by coming to an agreement, without going to court. This could be through negotiation, mediation, or some other form of dispute resolution. If you agree on how to settle the problem, make sure you get any changes to your original tenancy agreement put in writing.

What if we don't agree?

If you cannot reach an agreement and intend to take the matter to court, there are specific forms and notices that you must use. The Act sometimes requires the parties to provide each other with formal notices before a matter goes to court.

The Magistrates Court of Western Australia deals with disputes between lessors and tenants. The court has exclusive jurisdiction to decide all applications relating to the disposal of bond money. It can also deal with other tenancy disputes under the Act if the value of your claim is not more than $75,000. 

Always get legal advice before going to court.

What are my rights and responsibilities as a tenant?

There are many different things that happen or go wrong during a tenancy. There are rules about the rights and responsibilities as a tenant about things like paying rent, repairs and maintenance, locks, security, privacy, bonds, and ending a tenancy. You can find out more about these under the heading More information at the end of this page.

 

Get help

Legal Aid WA does not give advice or assistance about residential tenancies. You may be able to get help from:

Landlords

Landlords may be able to get assistance from:

More information

Tenancy WA 
Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety - Consumer Protection Division
Other places

 

Reviewed: 13 April 2018

Disclaimer

The information displayed on this page is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have a legal problem, you should see a lawyer. Legal Aid Western Australia aims to provide information that is accurate, however does not accept responsibility for any errors or omissions in the information provided on this page or incorporated into it by reference.