Submission regarding Residential Tenancies Amendment (Rental Fairness) Bill 2023
The Tenants' Union Submission to the Legislative Assembly Select Committee’s Inquiry on the Residential Tenancies Amendment (Rental Fairness) Bill 2023 (the Bill or Rental Fairness Bill). In line with the Terms of Reference of the Inquiry our comments in this submission are focussed primarily on reforms to restrict rent bidding, with special focus on the Clause 22B.
We appreciate and acknowledge the positive intention expressed through the Bill to provide renters with greater transparency during the application process. However, we hold serious concerns that the reforms introduced at Clause 22B will unintentionally sanction and entrench rent auctions as an acceptable rent setting measure in the private rental sector. We believe an approach that allows rent auctions could lead to unrealistic and inflated rents rather than creating stability and greater consistency for renters in the private rental market.
The Tenants’ Union considers the best outcome for renters and the NSW rental housing system is to end rent bidding altogether. This can be achieved by including provisions within the Bill prohibiting landlords or their agents from entering into a tenancy agreement at a higher rent than advertised.
Rent bidding survey: Renters’ responses
As an Appendix to our submission we provide a sample of the responses received from renters to our survey on rent bidding. In the survey we asked renters to share any experiences they may have had this year (2023) in relation to rent bidding. We also asked respondents to let us know their thoughts in relation to the proposed reforms. We asked respondents:
- Thinking about times you have experienced rent bidding, would transparency about bids that other people make have helped?
- Thinking about a time you have been frustrated by the application process, what would you like to have happened differently?
In providing the sample of responses as an Appendix we hope to ensure the direct inclusion of renters’ voices within the consultation process. A full copy of responses (excluding personal information) can be provided on request. Text analysis suggests 71% of renters do not believe transparency will help their problems with rent bidding.
Along with our formal submission we submit a joint letter with our sector colleagues outlining our concerns regarding the proposed reforms to ‘end secret rent bidding’.