C&G’s Guide to Victoria’s Rental Reforms

After being delayed by the pandemic, Victoria’s new rental laws will come into effect from the 29th of March 2021. As more people choose to lease their homes, these reforms are a necessary update to the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 and will reflect the modern renting experience. This latest C&G blog unpacks the most significant changes.

Changes to terminology.

Under the revised laws, tenants will be referred to as renters, landlords as rental providers, and tenancy agreements as rental agreements.

Electrical and gas safety checks.

Electrical and gas safety checks will need to be performed every two years by a licenced tradesperson. This will apply to all new leases and fixed term agreements of over five years that continue through to the 29th of March. It will be up to rental providers to keep records of these checks.

Maximum bond amount and rent in advance.

Rental providers can only request one month’s rent as a bond, and one month’s rent to be paid in advance. The only exception would be if the property’s rental price is over $900 per week and VCAT has allowed a higher bond limit. The rental price can also only be changed once every 12 months. More details can be found on the Consumer Affairs Victoria website here.

Rental minimum standards.

New rental agreements that begin after the 29th of March will need to meet a number of minimum standards. These include: secure door and window locks; ventilation that meet the standards set by the Building Code of Australia; vermin-proof bins; functioning bathroom, kitchen and laundry facilities; and appropriate energy-efficient heating. Consumer Affairs Victoria goes into more detail here.

Pets in rental properties.

Renters may keep a pet in their rental home with written permission from their rental provider. If the rental provider has a reasonable reason to prevent this, they would need to apply to VCAT directly.

In addition to aligning with contemporary renting practices, these reforms will ensure all rental properties offer a safe and homely space for all Victorians. If you’re a rental provider wrapping your head around these new laws, don’t hesitate to reach out to the expert team at Chisholm and Gamon with any questions. We’re across all real estate news to ensure our clients receive all the latest updates.

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