Victoria’s renting laws are changing, with more than 130 reforms to be implemented.
The start date of the Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2018 has been delayed due to coronavirus (COVID-19). The amendments are to be introduced by 1 January 2021, rather than the original date of 1 July 2020.
The timelines for the Residential Tenancies Regulations will also be revised.
The reforms will increase protections for tenants, while ensuring landlords can still effectively manage their properties.
The proposed Residential Tenancies Regulations 2020 are part of this reform package. They will affect all types of rental housing currently regulated by the Residential Tenancies Act 1997: public and private rental housing, rooming houses, caravan parks and residential parks.
The proposed Regulations set out, among other things:
- new standard form rental agreements, to better inform tenants and landlords of their rights and responsibilities
- prohibited terms that rental agreements must not include; for example, a term that states the tenant is liable for the landlord’s VCAT application costs
- information a landlord must disclose to a tenant before entering a rental agreement; for example, if the property is part of an embedded electricity network
- information a landlord must not require a rental applicant to disclose; for example, if the applicant’s previous landlord claimed part of the bond
- rental minimum standards that all rented premises must meet – most of these standards will commence immediately for new rental agreements. Some standards will be phased in over three years to allow landlords to adjust
- a maximum bond amount of one month’s rent for tenancy agreements and site agreements if the weekly rent is $900 or less
- standard form condition reports tailored to reflect the different requirements of different types of rental accommodation
- modifications tenants can make to rented premises without asking the landlord for consent; for example, adhesive child safety locks on drawers and doors
- an updated amount of $2,500 for the cost of urgent repairs that tenants, rooming house residents and caravan residents can authorise
- safety-related activities of both tenants and landlords that must be included in the standard tenancy agreement; for example, landlords would be responsible for arranging regular electrical safety tests.
Members of the public, industry and community groups were encouraged to provide feedback on the proposed Regulations.
As part of the consultation process, we also prepared a Regulatory Impact Statement. It assessed the impact of the proposed regulations on the community, including the costs and benefits of any alternative options.
A note on terms used in the Regulations
The proposed Regulations and the Regulatory Impact Statement use new terms that will apply when the reforms start (by 1 January 2021). These are:
- renters – currently called tenants
- rental providers – currently called landlords
- rental agreements – currently called tenancy agreements
- rooming house operators – currently called rooming house owners.
This consultation closed on 18 December 2019.
We received more than 700 written submissions. These came from a diverse range of Victorians including tenants, landlords, industry groups and advocates. We are finalising a review of the submissions.
To view the draft Regulations and Regulatory Impact Statement, visit the New regulations for rental housing page on the Engage Victoria website.
The final Regulations and submissions will be available to view on the Engage Victoria website before the reforms start. We will also publish a statement setting out the reasons for the direction taken in the final form of the Regulations. The statement will respond to the key issues raised in submissions.