The Victorian government has fasttracked several components of the Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2018 to come into effect over the next few months.
From April 3, a rooming house proprietor or applicant may request its location to be suppressed from the Public Rooming House Register in exceptional circumstances, such as if a house offers crisis accommodation to people at risk of family or personal violence.
There will also be a new residential tenancy agreement for tenancies of more than five years, with more information available on the Consumer Affairs Victoria website from that date.
Two more changes will come into effect from June. Under all new tenancy agreements from this date, rent will only be permitted to increase at 12-month (instead of six-month) intervals. Six-monthly increases will only be permitted for existing fixedterm tenancy agreements of less than five years entered into before June.
Also from June, estate agents and rental managers will be able to provide the prescribed renting guide, commonly referred to as the ‘Red Book’, electronically to renters.
Currently it has to be provided in paper copy by law. The Red Book details the rights and responsibilities of all parties to a rental agreement.
Consultations around the remaining 130 reforms contained in the Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2018 are scheduled to take place from June with a view to them being introduced by July 1, 2020 at the latest.
The REIV will continue to provide feedback into how the remaining reforms should be translated into workable and practical regulations.
With rental vacancy rates at record lows in regional Victoria, it is vital that these reforms are rolled out in a fair and balanced fashion. Landlords are already feeling the pressure from increased land tax bills and talk of curbing negative gearing and failure to do so could be another incentive to remove their rental properties from the regional market.
The Department of Housing and Human Services Rental Report revealed that the number of new rental lettings in regional Victoria decreased by 12.4 per cent in the 12 months to September 30, 2018 while the median rent increased 3.7 per cent over the same period.