New WA service to combat tenancy issues
Photo by Adrianna Calvo from Pexels

The Western Australian government has launched a new service that aims to help tenants and landlords resolve COVID-19 tenancy issues.

The McGowan Government announced that the free conciliation service had been created to assist renters and landlords in reaching agreement about coronavirus-related tenancy disputes, without having to go to court.

According to a statement, the aim of the Residential Tenancies Mandatory Conciliation Service (RTMCS) is for all sides to reach a fair and achievable solution through informal discussion.

RTMCS General Manager Trish Blake says this conciliation service is different to court.

“It’s a relaxed environment and gives people the power to choose the outcome in a non-adversarial setting,” Ms Blake said.

“If you are involved in a dispute being conciliated by the service, you must take part in the process. This means you have to at least talk to the conciliator and be involved in a discussion with your landlord or tenant. The conciliator will be flexible to ensure you have every reasonable opportunity to participate and have your issues heard.”

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Unlike in court where a decision is imposed, mandatory conciliation encourages renters and landlords to work together to come up with arrangements that suit everyone.

A statement released by Consumer Protection noted:

“Consumer Protection conciliators are impartial and have extensive experience in dealing with tenancy disputes. If parties to a conciliation do not participate, they may be fined.

“The mandatory conciliation scheme complements the introduction of a six-month moratorium on evictions and rent increases.

“The emergency residential tenancy laws aim to provide some certainty during these uncertain times for those in private and public housing, residential long-stay parks, as well as boarders and lodgers.”

Applications for conciliation are via submissions located on the Western Australian government’s official website.