How Will Changes to the Residential Tenancy Act Affect You

If you’re a Landlord I’m sure you’ve been made aware of the upcoming changes to the Victorian Residential Tenancy Act.

The new rental rules are aimed at creating a fairer, safer system for all Victorians and will help clarify the rights and responsibilities of renters (tenants) and rental providers (landlords).

The new rental laws will come into effect on 29 March 2021.

We’ve also outlined the changes below.

Applying for a rental agreement

Fixed price advertising and ban on rental bidding

A rental property must be advertised at a fixed amount.

Rental providers are also banned from soliciting or inviting offers of rent higher than the advertised price.

Inappropriate questions and discrimination disclosure

A rental provider or their agent cannot request inappropriate information in a rental application – for example, the renter’s bond history.

Rental application forms must include an information statement that educates applicants, rental providers and agents about unlawful discrimination.

Signing a rental agreement

Before signing

Before entering into a rental agreement, the rental provider must disclose to the renter whether the property is on the market for sale or is being repossessed, or if they are not the owner of the property, and information about any embedded energy network.

Maximum bond amount and rent in advance

Rental providers cannot ask for or accept more than one month’s rent as a bond, or require renters to pay more than one month’s rent in advance, for properties with a rent of $900 per week or less.

Moving in

Rental minimum standards

Rental minimum standards are changing, including your rights around heating and door and window locks in the rental property.

Rental providers have a duty to ensure their rental property meets the rental minimum standards.

For more information, view the Rental minimum standards guide.

Keys and security

Rental providers  must provide each renter with a free set of keys or security device. Rental providers can only charge a reasonable fee for additional or replacement keys or devices.

Modifications

Renters can make certain modifications without the rental provider’s consent. There are other modifications which a rental provider cannot unreasonably refuse consent to renters making.

For more information, view the Making modifications in rental properties guide.

Urgent repairs

More things are now considered an urgent repair, such as a broken cooling appliance, a functioning smoke alarm, pest infestation, mould and meeting the rental minimum standards.

Rental providers must pay back renters for the cost of urgent repairs (or replacement if the fault cannot be repaired) within seven days of the renter giving written notice of the reasonable cost of the repairs.

For more information, view the Rental provider must pay renter back for cost of urgent repairs within seven days guide.

Inspections and rights of entry

Rental providers must give renters seven days’ notice of a general inspection and pay at least $30 for each sales inspection that takes place.

A renter can object to the production of advertising images or videos that show their possessions in certain circumstances.

For more information, view the Rights of entry to a rental property to take advertising photos and conduct sales inspections guide.

Electrical and gas safety

Renters and rental providers must undertake safety-related activities set out in the rental agreement. Where necessary, they must ensure the activity is carried out by a suitably qualified person.

Rental providers must comply with requirements for keeping and producing records of gas and electrical safety checks conducted at the property.

Notice to vacate (all changes)

Rental providers cannot issue a 120-day ‘no specified reason’ notice to vacate. To end a rental agreement, they must provide a valid reason such as sale, change of use or demolition of the rental property, or the rental provider moving back into the rental property.

Reasonable and proportionate test for VCAT

VCAT must not issue an eviction possession order without first considering whether it is reasonable and proportionate in the circumstances of the application to do so.

This reform also applies to all rental types, including rooming houses, caravan parks and residential parks.

Notice to vacate for endangering safety

Rental providers can issue a notice to vacate if the renter or their visitor endangers the safety of neighbours, the rental provider or their agent, or a contractor or employee of either the rental provider or their agent.

For more details on these changes give our Property Management team a call on 03 5152 5627 or email rentals@kingheath.com.au.

 

*Information sourced from Consumer Affairs Victoria

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