Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill 2018

For the one in four Victorians who rent their home, the passing of more than 130 reforms to the Residential Tenancies Act brings some welcome news. Designed to broadly increase renter’s rights, while ensuring landlords will continue to adequately manage their investments, the reforms will better protect vulnerable tenants and allow people to make a house a home.

Alongside the banning of misleading or deceptive conduct designed to persuade a person into renting a particular property, there will be a crack-down on the practice of rental bidding, bonds will be capped at four weeks rent, and rent increases will be limited to once a year.

Further key amendments that come with the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill 2018 include:

Home Is Where The Pet Is:

Animal lovers rejoice! Under the new legislation every Victorian renter can now apply for permission to have Fido, Fluffy or Tweetie-pie under their roof, with rental providers only able to refuse a pet request by order of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

Art for Arts Sake:

Sick of propping that Sidney Nolan triptych against the wall? Not any more. Renters will now have the right to make minor modifications to their rental home, such as nailing up picture hooks or attaching furniture anchors, without first seeking landlord consent. Just remember though, unless you use nail free hooks or hangers, you’ll need to whip out the spakfilla and paint to patch up any damage when it’s time to leave!

Urgent Repairs:

Help, the pipe burst! In the event renters are required to cover the cost of unexpected and urgent repair work, provision has been made for a quick and fuss-free reimbursement process.

Need To Know:

Moving forward, material facts that could impact a decision to lease, such as a landlords intention to sell, or the known presence of asbestos, need to be disclosed pre-contractually. Rights of entry for inspection or photography purposes, too, must be clarified in the event of a property being sold.

Bond. Rental Bond:

Along with a provision for the early release of bonds with the consent of both tenancy agreement parties, tenants will no longer require the written consent of their landlord to quickly retrieve their bonds at the end of the rental tenure. Landlords will have 14 days to raise a dispute before automatic payment occurs.

The Blacklist:

Ensuring that every rental home meets basic living standards, such as functioning appliances, heating and deadlocks, in addition to appropriate safely measures for gas, electricity and smoke alarms, is a legislated obligation. Any landlord or agent failing to meet these requirements will find themselves registered on a non-compliant ‘blacklist’.

Termination Of Agreements:

Implementing the Royal Commission into Family Violence’s recommendation for renters in abusive situations, people will be able to terminate rental agreements and not be held liable for their abusers debts under the new legislation.

Security of Tenure:

Tenant security will be protected from ‘no fault’ evictions with the removal of the ‘no specified’ reason notice to vacate, along with restricting the use of ‘end of the fixed-term’ notices to vacate at the end of a fixed term agreement.