The Victorian Parliament has passed the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill 2018, which includes more than 130 reforms that come into effect progressively.
The reforms increase protection for renters, while ensuring residential rental providers can still manage their properties.
Two reforms come into effect on 3 April. They focus on:
- closing caravan and Part 4A parks (‘residential parks’) and compensating eligible residents
- restricting public access to certain addresses on the Rooming houses public register.
Caravan and residential parks
From 3 April, caravan and residential park owners who are closing a park must:
- give 14 days’ written notice to the local council of the municipality the park is in before giving notices to vacate to residents. If they don’t, the notices to vacate will still be valid, but the owner may be penalised for breaching the Residential Tenancies Act 1997.
- issue notices to vacate to residents or site tenants with an end date that is at least:
- 365 days after the notice is served for a residential park
- six months after the notice is served for a caravan park
- make sure that the end date on a notice to vacate does not occur before the end date set out in any agreement made with residents or site tenants.
If a park owner owns the land, they must apply to VCAT within 30 days of issuing notices to vacate to determine the amount eligible residents should be compensated. If the owner does not do this, the notices to vacate will become void.
Compensation covers the reasonable cost of relocating the dwelling, or loss of residency if the dwelling isn’t to be relocated.
To be eligible for compensation, a resident or site tenant must own the dwelling and it must be fixed to the land.
Residents and site tenants are not eligible for compensation if the owners have leased the land that the park is on, and the park is being closed because that lease is expiring.
From Wednesday 3 April, rooming house operators can apply to the Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria to stop the public from seeing their property’s address on the Rooming houses public register.
The Director will only restrict public access to the address when there are exceptional circumstances.
This may include suppressing the address of a rooming house run by either a housing agency registered under the Housing Act 1983, or a non-government organisation funded to deliver family violence services.
Suppression in these circumstances may be approved to help protect residents threatened by interpersonal or family violence.
Rooming house operators must make their request to the Director in writing.