Community Legal WA (CLWA) welcomes the Government’s announcement of a 35% increase in funding for the next two years for Tenancy Advice and Education Services (TAES), restoring funding to 2016 levels.

These services provide advocacy and support for everyday renters, enabling them to exercise their rights to stable housing, and will be particularly important given proposed changes to the Residential Tenancy Act announced on Friday 26 May 2023.

“When laws change, we need to increase prevention and early intervention activities like community legal education. Community legal centres help people to be aware of the law, and to understand and exercise their rights - the first defence against homelessness” said CLWA CEO Chelsea McKinney.

The changes will help the 1 in 3 West Australians who rent have a more stable place to call home. Prohibiting the practice of rent bidding (where landlords and property managers pressure or encourage tenants to offer more than the advertised rent) and reducing the frequency of rent increases to once every 12 months, will help to keep rents affordable. This is more important than ever when the cost of living is rising. 

Because the government’s proposed changes still leave power with the landlord to evict tenants when they have done nothing wrong, many tenants will still be afraid to exercise their rights for fear of eviction. These basic rights - to request repairs, to have a pet or make minor modifications like hang a picture - are what helps make a rental a home.

With increasing numbers of people renting, and with these proposed changes still leaving tenants with housing insecurity, we expect the rising demand for tenant advocacy to continue.

“That’s why the tenant advocacy provided by community legal centres will be needed more than ever. Legal assistance prevents problems from spiraling out of control. It keeps roofs over peoples' heads, and kids safe in their homes.”

While we welcome the two-year funding, we need a long-term commitment to sustainable investment in tenant advocacy. Community Legal Centres support some of the most vulnerable Western Australians and they need to know that tenancy services will be there for the long term.

The Tenancy Advice and Education Services (TAES) program is funded from interest income earned on private residential tenancy security bonds paid into the Rental Accommodation Account which means that the funding is insecure and can drop from year to year.

Community Legal WA will continue to work closely with government to establish a sustainable funding solution in advance of these laws coming into effect.


The Government’s proposed changes to the Residential Tenancy Act include:

  • prohibiting the practice of rent bidding, with landlords and property managers unable to pressure or encourage tenants to offer more than the advertised rent;
  • reducing the frequency of rent increases to once every 12 months;
  • tenants will be allowed to keep a pet or pets in a rental premises in most cases;
  • tenants will be able to make certain minor modifications to the rental premises and the landlord will only be able to refuse consent on certain grounds;
  • the release of security bonds at the end of a tenancy will be streamlined, allowing tenants and landlords to apply separately regarding how bond payments are to be disbursed; and
  • disputes over bond payments, as well as disagreements about pets and minor modifications, will be referred to the Commissioner for Consumer Protection for determination

Disappointingly, the proposed changes do not include removal of “without grounds” evictions as called for by CLWA and the other members of the Make Renting Fair Alliance.