The new rental reforms by Andrews Government have recently passed and is one of the biggest changes within recent history. These changes are being put in place to increase security and assistance to tenants. With 1 in 4 Victorians renting their homes, many see these as welcome changes – however, this does create less control for the landlords over their properties.
The changes to rental legislation include:
- Rents will only be able to increase every 12 months
- Landlords must advertise their property at a fixed price and will no longer be able to accept an offer higher than advertised
- The government is creating an agent/landlord “blacklist” which is publicly available
- Tenants are allowed to have pets – landlords won’t be able to unreasonably refuse the request. Tenants will be however responsible for any cleaning, damage exceeding fair wear and tear and
- Occupants can apply to the RTBA to have their bond released without their agents/landlords agreement – if there is no dispute within 14 days the bond will be paid out
- Tenants can now apply to have their bond released up to 14 days before the end of a tenancy
- Bond can only be 1 months’ rent
- Occupants who have paid for urgent repairs will be entitled to reimbursement from the landlord after 7 days
- Landlords must give a reason to terminate the tenancy – this means the removal of the 120-day notice to vacate
- Tenants who have received an “End of Fixed Term notice to vacate” will be able to vacate the property by giving their landlord 14 days’ notice, rather than continuing to pay rent until the end of the fixed term
- Landlords are required to tell tenants any specific details regarding the property at the time of signing their lease. These include future plans to sell or if asbestos has been identified etc.
- Tenants will be able to take their landlord/agent to VCAT if a landlord has failed to properly notify the tenants of these issues ending in an early termination of an agreement or compensation
- Exemption of special terms within a lease agreement for agreements made longer than 5 years
- Tenants can make minor modifications on the property providing they obtain the landlords’ written consent. Landlords, however, are not able to unreasonably refuse the request or the tenants can apply further to VCAT. At this time, these include modifications regarding:
- Required for health and safety or security measures to ensure the safety of tenants
- Reasonable alterations of the equal opportunities act
- Access for telecommunications
- Required to increase thermal comfort or reduce energy and water usage
- Deadlocks to be installed on all external doors unless there is an additional security door present. Windows must also have locks if possible.
There is no set date for the beginning of these changes, however, they will be in place by the latest by the 1st of July 2020 for all rental properties moving forward. There is no doubt the implementation timeframes will be a calling card with the upcoming election later this year.