Whether you’re a renter or rental provider (the “official” new name for a landlord), there are a new set rental rules that you should understand.
In fact there are over 130 changes to the legislation – too many to outline here, but I’ll try and provide a summary for you.
The new rental laws are now in effect and the changes to the law clarify the rights and responsibilities of renters and rental providers – from before you sign a rental agreement until after the agreement ends – and apply to all types of tenancies, private rentals, caravan and residential parks, and rooming houses.
The law changes include:
- a ban on rental bidding,
- new rental minimum standards – this is a big one and will lead to some extra expense for almost all landlords in order for them to be able to certify there property meets the minimum standards.
- no eviction without a reason,
- allowable modifications by renters and
- urgent repairs.
Rental rule changes in Victoria – the quick guide
The quick guide below provided by Consumer Affairs Vic covers some of the key changes, with links to handy guides that provide more information.
There are also changes relating to:
- family violence
- rooming houses
- caravan parks
- movable dwellings
You can read about these changes by viewing All changes to renting laws.
Before you sign a lease
Applying for a rental agreement
Fixed-price advertising and ban on rental bidding.
A rental property must be advertised at a fixed amount.
A property cannot be advertised for rent with the costs listed within a price range.
Rental providers are also banned from soliciting or inviting offers of rent higher than the advertised price.
For more information, view the Fixed price advertisements and offers, and ban on inviting rental bids guide.
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.
For more information, view the Inappropriate questions and discrimination disclosure guide.
Signing a rental agreement
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.
For more information, view the Disclosure requirements before entering into a rental agreement guide.
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.
For more information, view the Maximum bond amount and rent in advance guide.
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 devices.
Rental providers can only charge a reasonable fee for additional or replacement keys or devices.
Caravan park owners and residential park site owners must not charge a fee for the supply of a key to enable car access to the park.
For more information, view the Rental provider must provide a free set of keys for each renter guide.
During a rental agreement
Renters can make certain modifications without the rental provider’s consent.
There are other modifications that a rental provider cannot unreasonably refuse consent to renters making.
For more information, view the Making modifications in the rental properties guide.
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.
This applies to urgent repairs to all rental properties including rooming houses, caravans, caravan park sites, and residential park sites.
For more information, view the Rental provider must pay renter back for the 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.
Rental providers must also comply with more detailed rules around rights of entry, including a longer notice period for some grounds, restrictions for renters protected under personal safety and family violence legislation, and length and frequency of entry.
For more information, view the Rights of entry to a rental property to take advertising photos and conduct a sales inspection 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.
For more information, view the Electrical and gas safety guide.
Ending a Rental Agreement
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.
For more information, view both related guides below:
- Rental providers must give a reason to end a rental agreement guide.
- New process for repeated late or non-payment of rent guide.
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.
Renters can apply to the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority (RTBA) to get their bond back, if they cannot get their rental provider’s agreement, to have all or part of their bond released
For more information, view the New options for renters claiming their bond guide.
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 information, view the Guidelines for notice to vacate for endangering safety guide.
For more information about the new renting changes, you can view:
- Guide to rental law changes in Victoria, which will take you through all of the new changes to renting laws
- Prepare for rental changes: resources for rental providers to access information and resources to make sure you understand and comply with the changes in the law
- Transition to new renting laws for technical information about how the new renting laws come into effect.
The Bottom Line
While the official position is that these new rules create a fairer safer system for all and provide increased protection for renters, in reality, they place an extra burden on rental providers (landlords) and their property managers.
At Metropole Property Management we have spent a lot of time effort and training to ensure we are up-to-date with this new legislation to protect both our landlords and our tenants.
If you have any queries please don’t hesitate to contact us by clicking here and clarify your obligations and options.
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