In October last year, the Andrews government announced a set of proposed reforms to the Residential Tenancies Act that would give renters increased rights.
On Thursday night, those reforms were passed through state parliament.
“These new laws are the biggest reforms to renting in Victoria’s history and are about ensuring everyone who rents has a safe and secure home to call their own,” state Minister for Consumer Affairs Marlene Kairouz said in a statement.
Here’s a breakdown of the key changes:
• Landlords must now ensure their properties meet basic standards, providing functioning stoves, heating and deadlocks, and maintaining basic safety standards for gas, electricity and smoke alarms.
• Rental bidding will be banned, preventing landlords from accepting a higher price than advertised.
• Landlords may only increase rent every 12 months, as opposed to every six months as currently stands.
• Bond will now be capped at four weeks’ rent.
• Landlords may no longer unreasonably refuse consent to minor modifications. This covers nailing hooks to walls and anchoring furniture for safety. But they can request these modifications be made by a qualified person.
• Landlords will now need an official order from the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal in order to refuse a tenant the right to own a pet.
• Tenants will no longer need written consent from their landlord to file for the release of their bond. The landlord will have 14 days to dispute the claim, or bond will be repaid to the tenant automatically after that time.
• Victims of family violence will be able to terminate rental agreements to ensure they aren’t held liable for the debts of their abusers.
• Caravan and mobile home owners will now be offered access to compensation if their residential park closes.
The laws will come into effect by July 1, 2020.
For information on current rental laws head to consumer.vic.gov.au/renting.