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Advice , Uncategorised

New Reforms That Will Change Landlord and Tenant Rights

Industry Updates – Residential Tenancies Act Amendment Bill

The Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill 2018 has passed in the Victorian Parliament, bringing with it over 130 reforms. The bill is primarily designed to increase renters rights in a market where more people are priced out of ownership and need to rent long term. 

However, the amendments also include changes that ensure landlords can continue to adequately manage and protect their investments. All in all, the reforms makes obligations and rights clearer for both parties. Below we explore some of the changes. 

New Rights for Rental Property Providers

Landlords have enhanced grounds for terminating a tenancy in the event of malicious damage, violence and threats. When rent is repeatedly paid 14 days late or less, landlords are not just entitled to evict the tenant but to also seek compensation to recoup arrears. 

The reforms also streamline the process of what landlords can do when goods are left behind at the end of the tenancy. Goods left behind by tenants must not be removed, destroyed or disposed of for up to 14 days. If it is not reclaimed within that time, the landlord may sell or dispose of those goods unless otherwise agreed or if VCAT orders additional storage time. 

New Rights for Tenants

The main aim of the reforms is to ensure tenants can feel more at home and secure in a long term rental. The amendments achieve this in a number of ways, including: 

  • Pet allowance with written consent (which may only be refused through a VCAT order)
  • Ability to make minor modifications without consent (eg. picture hooks)
  • Streamlined process for getting reimbursed for urgent repair costs
  • Ending ‘no fault’ evictions by removing the ‘no specified reason’ notice to vacate
  • Option to end a lease in family violence situations without a final intervention order

The reforms also provide for the early release of bonds with the consent of both parties as well as automatic bond repayments available to the tenant within 14 days. 

New Landlord Obligations 

Landlords have greater obligations when it comes to ensuring the property they lease out meets minimum standards such as having a functioning stove, heating and toilets. Landlords are also required to disclose material facts such as their intention to sell the rental property or the presence of asbestos.

The reforms prohibit misleading or deceptive conduct that induces a person into renting property. The Act now restricts the solicitation of rental bids by residential rental providers and agents. Any residential rental provider and agent who fails to meet their obligations will be blacklisted on a new non-compliance register.  

Work With the Right Agent

This is just a brief look at some big changes to an outdated Act. These reforms will become progressively active as guidelines are developed. It’s essential to ensure your property is managed by professionals that understand the changes, will advocate fairly for both tenants and landlords and keep a strong line of communication between both parties regarding property issues, legislative changes and general assistance.

Follow our blog for the latest information on Victoria’s property market or contact us today for real estate services.  


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