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Victorian Tenancy Reforms to Have Positive Impact on Rental Market

Rental Reforms Melbourne“An enhanced experience of the rental market” – that’s what the former CEO of the Real Estate Institute of Victoria has said regarding recent changes made by the Victorian government. 

October 8th marketed the day where they announced the 6 areas set to receive reforms to tenancy law, with the aim of making renting fairer by granting tenants more rights. This will be done by revising the Residential Tenancies Act 1997.

Read on to find out some of the areas set to receive major reforms:

Rent Security

One area that’s faced changes is rent security, where 6 key amendments have been made to the law:

  • Removal of the “no specified reason” 120 days’ notice to vacate rule
  • Landlords only allowed to end tenancies with an “end of fixed term” notice to vacate when the term has come to an end
  • Tenancies can only be ended by grounds laid out in the Residential Tenancies Act
  • Tenants can give 14 days’ notice to end their tenancy and stop making payments if they’re on an “end of fixed term” lease
  • Terms lasting over 5 years will afford more protection to both landlords and tenants

Tenant Rights

Tenant rights is set to face changes to protect tenants, with a commissioner being introduced for residential tenancies and a landlord blacklist to minimise the number of bad experiences with renting.

Bonds

Bonds are set to be developed in 4 key ways:

  • They’ll be repaid if both landlord and tenant agree to it within 14 days
  • Bonds can be released 14 days before the end of the tenancy, as opposed to the previous 7 days
  • Only 4 weeks’ rent can be charged on properties where rents are less than double the median weekly rent ($760)

Rent Prices

Increases to rent prices will only be allowed once a year, a change from the previous 6-month term. Additionally, rental bidding won’t be allowed.

Pets

Landlords will no longer be allowed to refuse pets within their properties unreasonably and also can’t refuse assistance from guide dogs.

Minor Modifications

Landlords will no longer be allowed to refuse minor modifications to their properties.

These changes have yet to be put in place, and actioning them is expected to take some tie. The process, however, is underway.

Changes Thought to be mostly Good

The changes brought into effect have mostly been greeted with positivity, setting a strong balance between landlords and tenants. It gives tenants more flexibility, whilst still serving to protect landlord rights.

Some experts, however, have bounced back against the landlord blacklist, viewing it as redundant. Since VCAT is already in place to deal with rental disputes.