Consumer Affairs Victoria has implemented new rent rules to create a fairer and safer system for renters and rental providers with more than 130 reforms introduced.
These changes, which came into effect on March 29, put minimum standards for rental properties into law, things like hot and cold water, working ovens, stovetops and sinks and a permanent, working heater.
More than one in four people rent in Victoria and Consumer Affairs says these new rules will give renters new protections, and the ability to make simple modifications without seeking permission, so they can have a house that feels like a home.
Consumer Affairs Victoria director Nicole Rich said these new rules are creating a fairer, safer system for all.
“The biggest reforms to renting in Victoria’s history have now come into effect, so it’s important every rental provider ensures their rental property complies,” Ms Rich said.
“These new rules ensure that a lot of things that most people already expect from a rental property become law.
“We’re making sure renters and rental providers have clearer rules and greater accountability so that every renter and every rental is looked after.”
Consumer Affairs is assuring rental providers they will also benefit from changes that make it clearer on what renters are accountable for and updating everyone’s obligations, so they are easier to understand, and quicker to act on if there is a problem.
Their aim is to give rental providers an easier relationship with renters and greater confidence their rental will be maintained.
One Agency Surf Coast property manager Trinette McKoy said changes to the renting laws will ensure a fairer and safer system for all parties involved.
“Renters will have the peace of mind that they have full disclosure about the property they are about to live in and also know that they will be safe due to the now regulated safety checks,” Ms McKoy said.
“For Residential Rental Providers (landlords) they now have more defined regulations that take away some of the ambiguous or grey areas.
“There is always a demand for rentals in our area, especially in Jan Juc, the past three days, we’ve had at least 15 people booked into each of our property inspections.
“In terms of rental availability, we have seen a real backflip compared to three months ago when there was a shortage, now there’s plenty of choice with 46 properties for rent in the postcode of 3228 on realestate.com.au.
“The entry point in the current market is a one-bedroom unit for $300 per week and at the other end of the scale, there is a four-bedroom family home with a pool for $800 per week.”
Notable reforms include:
- Renters can no longer be evicted for no reason – a valid reason is required, including: a sale, change of use, or if the owner is moving back in
- An expanded definition of urgent repairs, which includes serious faults that impact on safety and use of the property
- Rent can only be increased once a year
- Renters can make simple modifications without seeking permission, such as attaching child safety devices or replacing curtains
- Allowing other modifications that a rental provider cannot unreasonably refuse, including allowing the planting of a vegetable or herb garden, painting, securing gates and installing security systems and flyscreens at the renter’s own cost
- New minimum standards ensure that rental properties meet basic standards of cleanliness, security and privacy
- Rentals can now only be offered at a fixed price, rental providers and agents cannot invite rental bids for higher rent
- Rental providers and agents cannot make false or misleading representations to encourage someone to sign a rental agreement
- Pets cannot be unreasonably refused, although renters must still ask for permission, and
- A renter can be evicted if they are violent or threatening towards a rental provider, agent or neighbour.
- Renters experiencing family violence will be able to change or terminate their rental agreement and not be held liable for damages in some circumstances.
You can find the full list and more information at consumer.vic.gov.au/rentrules.