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Upper House backs Greens push to strengthen Residential Tenancies reforms with an independent advocate

13 June 2023

A Greens’ amendment to the State Government’s rental reforms to establish a new independent advocate for renters in South Australia successfully passed the Upper House today with the support of the Liberal Party and SA-Best.

The new body would be funded by the interest on bond money held by the Office of Consumer and Business Services and would advocate for and represent the interests of tenants. The amended bill will require support of the Labor Government in the Lower House before it becomes law.

“The original bill that the Labor Government took to the Upper House to reform the Residential Tenancies Act, was weak as water and lacked the tools necessary to really help tenants,” said Greens Housing Spokesperson, Robert Simms MLC.

“The Greens moved a range of amendments to strengthen the laws – including axing no cause evictions, legislating for a presumption in favour of renting with pets and giving the Minister the power to cap rents. Sadly, none of these were supported.”

“Allowing for the establishment of a new, independent advocate for tenants however is a big win for South Australian renters and would help to address the structural imbalance between landlords and their tenants.”

Now, for the first time, renters would be able to access an independent body that will talk to governments, media, landlords and real estate agents on their behalf. The Greens really welcome the support of the Liberals and SA-Best for this common sense reform and urge the Government to let this pass through the Lower House,” said Greens Housing Spokesperson Robert Simms MLC.

The Greens also moved the following amendments to the bill, which were not supported by any other parties:

  • Ending rent bidding in full by preventing agents or landlords from accepting offers above the asking price
  • Allowing the Minister to implement rent controls when required by market pressures
  • Providing a presumption in favour of renting with pets (require landlords to apply not to keep pets)
  • Ending no-cause evictions