New Bill is designed to improve protections
for Victoria’s diverse population of renters

Victorians are renting more now than at any stage in the state’s history, and for longer. In an attempt to rebalance the market, the Victorian Government has undertaken a comprehensive review on the Residential Tenancies Act 1997. The review sought to ensure that the Act still meets the needs of Victoria’s renters. In August this year, the Victorian Parliament passed the carefully scrutinised Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill 2018.

The reforms are largely based on the reality that a growing proportion of Victorians are priced out of home ownership, making them likely to rent for longer periods of time. The Bill includes more than 130 reforms designed to improve protections for our diverse population of renters, while ensuring those who provide rental housing can still effectively manage their properties.

A sample of these reforms are:

  • Allowing animals to be kept in any rented premises
  • Allowing renters to make minor modifications to a rental property without prior consent
  • Bolstering security of tenure and ending ‘no fault’ evictions by removing the ‘no specified reason’ notice to vacate and restricting the use of ‘end of the fixed-term’ notices to vacate to the end of an initial fixed term agreement
  • Establishing a non-compliance register to ‘blacklist’ residential rental providers and agents who fail to meet their obligations
  • Providing for the early release of bonds with the consent of both parties to the tenancy agreement
  • Restricting solicitation of rental bids by residential rental providers and agents
  • Providing for annual, instead of bi-annual, rent increases
  • Providing for faster reimbursement where renters have paid for urgent repairs
  • Increasing the number of properties to which the statutory maximum cap of four weeks for bond and rent in advance applies
  • Enabling automatic bond repayments, which will be available to a renter within 14 days where the parties are not in dispute
  • Requiring mandatory pre-contractual disclosure of material facts, such as an intention to sell the rental property, or the known presence of asbestos
  • Prohibiting misleading or deceptive conduct inducing a person into renting a property.

This information has been sourced from https://engage.vic.gov.au/fairersaferhousing.

A full list of reforms can be found on the Engage Vic website.