New tenancy reforms – July 2020
Why will these changes be made?
132 new reforms will be implemented by July 2020, with the aim to increase the protection for renters. Consumer Affairs Victoria will oversee implementation of the new laws, including further consultation to develop regulations and guidelines.
How the changes were made?
The reforms respond to extensive community feedback during the Victorian Government’s Fairer Safer Housing consultation to review the Residential Tenancies Act 1997. More than 4,800 public comments were received from a wide range of people and organisations.
What are the changes?
We have put together a summary of the changes to the tenancy regulations which may affect you as a landlord or tenant.
- Landlords must provide each renter (tenant) with a free set of keys to access the property.
- Tenants will be allowed to make minor modification without their landlord’s consent.
- Renters can keep pets at a rental property with the written consent of the landlord.
- A landlord will not be able to increase rent more than once every 12 months under any type of tenancy agreement.
- Excessive utility bills; where a renter has received an excessive utility bill attributable to a hidden fault (such as a leaking water pipe), the rental provider must pay for the costs that exceed the tenant’s ordinary usage amounts.
- Landlords will no longer be able to issue a ‘no specified reason’ notice to vacate, which means the 120 day notice to vacate will no longer be accessible.
- Urgent repairs will now include repairs or replacements relating to air conditioning, safety devices and any fault or damage which makes the property unsafe or insecure, including pest infestations, or mould or damp caused by or related to the building structure. Rental providers must then 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.
- Long term leases; Renters and rental providers (landlords) can enter a fixed-term rental agreement for longer than five years. They must use the prescribed form to do so.
- Rental Property Minimum Standards; Rental providers must ensure that the property complies with minimum standards before a renter moves in. If a property does not comply with the minimum standards, the renter can terminate the rental agreement before they move in, or they can request an urgent repair. These minimum standards are will be set in April 2020 following public consultation in November 2019 through Engage Victoria.
These minimum standards include;
– Working deadlocks on all external entry doors (excluding screen doors or where heritage regulations may not allow it).
– Toilets in good working order, correctly connected to sewage systems.
– Kitchen facilities with sink, oven and cooktop in good working order.
– A reasonable supply of hot and cold water for any laundry facilities in the premises.
– Heating in a main living area of houses or terraces by July 1, 2020 – this must be energy efficient if installed after this date.
How we will work with you?
Our agency is undertaking all the necessary training to ensure our clients will meet all the new tenancy reforms. If you have any questions about a particular reform, please feel free to contact your property manager for more information.