Creating the right to grow food and compost is an election commitment and is listed in the Parliamentary and Governing Agreement for the 10th ACT Legislative Assembly (Appendix 4 23.3).

Reducing organic waste from households is part of the ACT Climate Change Strategy 2019-2025.

The proposal would also strengthen tenants’ rights, in line with the ACT Housing Strategy, by giving tenants greater say in how they use their homes.

The Public Exposure Draft of the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill 2022 clarifies that some food growing and composting activities will be classified as ‘minor modifications.’

This means that the tenant will need to seek their landlord’s consent to the plantings or composting but landlords will not be able to unreasonably refuse consent.

Specifically, the Draft Bill will clarify that a tenant may plant fruits, vegetables, flowers, herbs or shrubs (that don’t grow to more than 2 metres) in the garden if existing vegetation or plants do not need to be removed.

They will also be able to install an above ground compost bin or tumbler where there is space to do so.

At the end of the tenancy, tenants will also be required to return the garden to substantially the same condition as it was at the start of the tenancy, allowing for fair wear and tear (unless otherwise agreed with the landlord).

These changes will not apply to the common property of units plans or to the balconies of Class A units, as the owners corporation is responsible for managing these areas.

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