The Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) is the primary governing legislation to manage the relationship between landlords and tenants in Victoria.
As of 2017, 25% of the Victorian population live in a rental property, with house prices increasing unfortunately the dream of owning your own home is becoming less of a reality.
In recognition of the changing environment, the residential tenancies act is currently under review.
It is imperative as a landlord to remain informed during this process, as this will have a long-term effect on your investment portfolio.
Importantly, I must mention that these amendments are still described as proposed changes to the residential tenancies act.
The REIV remains dubious about many of the proposed changes and strongly encourages all owners to be proactive in providing feedback to the government via the Rent Fair Victoria website.
“The Government has failed to consider the rights of the supply side, which is absolutely crucial in maintaining a sustainable private rental market,” explains REIV CEO Gil King.
“While these changes have been designed to provide tenants with better protections, ironically they will result in increased competition for properties, higher rents and greater landlord screening of applicants”.
Below you will find a list of some of the proposed changes:
- Removing the owners rights to vacate a tenant that is on a periodic lease (month to month) by abolishing the 120 day notice to vacate
- Landlords/Landlords agents will be obliged to disclose certain information prior to the tenant signing a lease agreement, which will include- any proposal to sell the property, or if the landlord is aware of any asbestos previously identified at the property.
- Currently, tenants who breach their obligations under the act may find their names on a tenancy database (sometimes referred to as “blacklist”) landlord and their agents may now be subject to similar measures for those who have breached their duties under the residential tenancies act.
- 14 day automatic bond repayment after the tenancy has ended if no application to VCAT has been lodged
- The tenant can request to have their bond refunded in full 14 days prior to the tenant vacating the property to alleviate financial pressure
- The maximum bond a landlord/landlords agent will be able to request will be equal to one months rental (currently a landlord/landlords agent can negotiate a higher bond when the weekly rental is in excess of $350 per week)
- The tenant can request reimbursement of urgent repairs (up to $1,800) within 7 days (currently 14 days)
- Rent can only be increased every 12 months (currently every 6 months)
- “Rental Bidding” will be abolished- property can only be leased at advertised price
- A landlord/landlords agent can not unreasonably withhold consent for a tenant to have a pet at the property.
- Tenants can make minor modifications (with owners written consent) however an owner will not be able to unreasonably refuse minor modifications such as installing picture hooks, internet access etc.
As you can see many of these proposed changes effect all owners.
For the most current information regarding these changes please visit https://engage.vic.gov.au/fairersaferhousing