New laws to reform the rental market - News alert

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13 August 2018
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More than 130 reforms designed to make the rental market fairer to both landlords and tenants have been introduced into the Victorian Parliament.

The reforms are the result of community feedback during the Victorian Government’s Fairer Safer Housing consultation to review the Residential Tenancies Act 1997. More than 4,800 public comments were received from a range of people and organisations.

The reforms will:

  • ensure every rental home meets basic minimum standards – such as providing functioning stoves, heating and deadlocks
  • require landlords to meet basic safety standards for gas, electricity, smoke alarms and pool fences
  • implement the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Family Violence that relate to rental housing. These include:
    • allowing victims to end a lease in family violence situations
    • ensuring victims are not held unfairly liable for debts created by perpetrators of the violence 
  • allow caravan and residential park residents to seek compensation if their park closes
  • clarify rights of entry and photography when a landlord needs to sell a rental property, and
  • streamline the rules dealing with goods left behind at the end of a tenancy.

Work is also underway on complementary reforms to provide easily accessible and effective dispute resolution through the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).

Tenants will be allowed to have a pet with the written consent of their landlord, and consent can only be reasonably refused through a VCAT order.

The new laws will also allow tenants to make minor modifications – such as installing furniture anchors to stop televisions and other heavy items falling on children - without first obtaining the landlord’s consent.

Further guidelines will be provided to support and help implement the changes.

To view all the reforms, visit the Fairer Safer Housing page on the Engage Victoria website.