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Proposed Residential Tenancy Reforms

By Tamara Lloyd

Since 2015, the Victorian Government has been undertaking a review of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 as part of its platform for housing related initiatives entitled ‘Fairer Safer Housing’.

The final RTA Options Paper was released in January 2017 and outlined an extensive range of proposed changes. The REIV has been very vocal in their objections to many of the proposed reforms as they believe they have the ability to negatively impact on landlords and property managers. Myself and my team also have concerns around many of the proposed changes to these laws

Reforms announced

In October 2017, the Government announced significant changes to the Residential Tenancies Act with 14 reforms outlined – all of which are tenant focused. Changes include:

  • Removal of the 120 day Notice to Vacate for ‘No Specified Reason’;
  • Limiting the use of ‘end of fixed term’ notices to vacate;
  • Bond capped at one months’ rent for all tenancies less than $760 per week;
  • Landlords unable to unreasonably refuse consent for pets;
  • Allowing tenants to make minor property modifications;
  • Landlord and estate agent blacklist;
  • Requiring pre-contractual disclosure by landlords regarding asbestos and intention to sell;
  • A new Commissioner for Residential Tenancies;
  • Early release of bonds by agreement before the end of a tenancy;
  • Faster tenant reimbursement for urgent repairs;
  • Automatic bond repayment within 14 days when a claim hasn’t been lodged;
  • Ban on rental bidding and rent bidding apps;
  • Rent increases restricted to once per year; and
  • Prohibiting false, misleading or deceptive representations by landlords or agents prior to a tenancy.

I am particularly concerned about those proposed changes that remove landlord rights and reduce their security over their investment. Landlords can provide feedback to the Government on the impact of these changes on a online survey the REIV will be submitting to the government. To have your say, log onto our blog and follow the link in this story.

https://www.vic.gov.au/rentfair/tell-us-what-you-think.html

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