• Government unveils new rental laws


    Government unveils new rental laws

    In the biggest change to the Residential Tenancies Act since it was implemented more than two decades ago, the Labor Government has announced more than 130 reforms to the Act.

    The 130 reforms are intended to strengthen renters’ rights, protect tenants and enable renters to make minor modifications to homes.

    More than one in four Victorians rent their home. Reforms in the Bill are intended to ensure every rental home meets basic standards – with functioning stoves, heating and deadlocks. It will also require landlords to meet basic safety standards for gas, electricity and smoke alarms.

    The legislation will also address rental bidding, limit rent increases to once a year and cap bonds at four weeks rent. Renters will be given the right to make minor modifications – such as nailing a hook on the wall or installing anchors to stop furniture falling– without first obtaining the landlords consent.

    Protections for pet owners will be stronger, with residential rental providers only able to refuse the right of a tenant to have a pet by order of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

    Rights of entry and photography when a rental property is being sold will be clarified, as will rules to deal with goods left by a renter at the end of a tenancy.

    Tenants will be able to apply for the release of bond without written consent from their landlord, who will have 14 days to raise a dispute before it is repaid automatically.

    People will also be able to terminate rental agreements in situations of family violence. The change will ensure victims are not held liable for the debts of their abusers, implementing the Royal Commission into Family Violence’s recommendations.

    To read more about the changes to the Act, please see here