Tuesday, 19 March 2019

When will the Victorian Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2018 commence?

Further to my post about  the proposed reforms to Victorian Residential Tenancies legislation (see: https://melbournepropertylaw.blogspot.com/2018/02/what-residential-tenancy-reforms-are.html), the Victorian State Government has now passed the Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2018. 

The reforms number more than 130 allegedly providing increased protections for renters, while ensuring rental housing providers can still effectively manage their properties.

As a result, renters will be able to: 
a.    Have a pet. Consent can only be reasonably refused through a Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) order; and
b.    Make certain modifications without first obtaining the residential rental provider's consent, such as installing picture hooks and furniture anchors to stop televisions and other heavy items falling on children.

Other key changes will: 
a.    Require every rental home to meet basic minimum standards, to be set out in regulations, such as providing functioning stoves, heating and toilets.
b.    Require residential rental providers to undertake mandatory safety maintenance for gas, electricity, smoke alarms and pool fences.
c.     Implement the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Family Violence that relate to rental housing. These include:
                                                       i.     Allowing victims to end a lease in family violence situations without first needing a final intervention order, and
                                                     ii.     Ensuring victims are not held unfairly liable for debts created by perpetrators of the violence.
d.    Allow caravan and residential park residents to seek compensation if their park closes.
e.    Clarify rights of entry and photography when a landlord needs to sell a rental property, and
f.      Streamline the rules dealing with goods left behind at the end of a tenancy. 

The changes will come into force progressively.

Apparently, the government is working on complementary reforms to provide easily accessible and informal dispute resolution through VCAT. Also, according to the Government information available further consultation will be undertaken where necessary to develop guidelines around the new laws.

As previously noted in this blog, broadly speaking, the reforms fall into the six categories:
1.     Rental security;
2.     Tenant rights;
3.     Faster payments and rental bonds;
4.     Fair priced rent;
5.     Pets are welcome; and
6.     Modifications.

WG Stark 
Hayden Starke Chambers

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