On Tuesday 9 March we held an information webinar for our clients on the Victorian Rental Reforms. If you missed it, you can watch the recording above or here. This webinar covers off changes to terminology, minimum standards, safety-related activities, prescribed forms and changes to end of rental agreements.
A list of the most significant changes is provided below:
If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your local Ray White property manager who will be able to assist further.
The new rental laws refer to landlords as rental providers, tenants as renters, tenancy agreements as rental agreements.
Rental providers (landlords) and estate agents can only advertise or offer rental properties at a fixed price. They are banned from inviting rental bids or soliciting offers of rent higher than the advertised price. A rental provider and their agent are banned from encouraging someone to enter into a rental agreement by making false or misleading representations, or through misleading or deceptive conduct.
Rental providers (landlords) must provide each renter with a free set of keys or security device. Rental providers can only charge a reasonable fee for additional or replacement keys or devices. Renters can keep pets at a rental property with the written consent of the rental provider. A rental provider can apply to VCAT for an order that it is reasonable to refuse permission.
Rental providers (landlords) cannot issue a ‘no specified reason’ notice to vacate. To end a rental agreement, rental providers must provide a valid reason such as sale, change of use or demolition of the rental property, or rental provider moving back into the rental property. Rental providers can only issue a notice to vacate at the end of the first fixed-term of a rental agreement. This does not apply to long-term rental agreements of more than five years. Rental providers must attach documentary evidence to a notice to vacate for change of use. The Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria will specify the types of evidence that must be used, for example a building permit.
Rental providers (landlords) must ensure the rental property is provided and maintained in good repair and is in a reasonably fit and suitable condition for occupation. This applies regardless of the amount of rent paid or the property’s age and character.
Rental providers have a duty to ensure their rental property meets the rental 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. Please refer to our minimum standards booklet for more information.
Renters and rental providers must undertake safety-related activities set out in the rental agreement. Where necessary, they must ensure the activity is carried out by a suitably qualified person. Please refer to our safety requirements booklet for more information.
Urgent repairs 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.
Renters can make prescribed modifications without the rental provider’s consent. There are other modifications which a rental provider cannot unreasonably refuse consent to renters making. Renters must return the property back to the condition it was given to them in – allowing for reasonable fair wear and tear. Please refer to our information webinar for more information.
Rental providers must ensure that external doors are secured with a working deadlock and each window capable of having a lock has one. There are exceptions, for example if there is a screen door attached to an external door with a deadlock. Should an electrical, gas or item that uses or supplies water at the premises require replacement, the replacement item must have a rating that is of, or above, a rating in an efficiency rating system. Such items may include non-ducted air conditioners or heat pumps, a gas space heater, a dishwasher or hot water units. In most cases this minimum rating is 3 stars for a water appliance and a minimum 2 stars for electrical and gas items.
The full set of new rental laws will come into effect on 29 March 2021, however some laws will not apply to existing rental agreements until these agreements end.
If a rental agreement is: A fixed-term rental agreement starting on or after 29 March 2021, or a month-to-month rental agreement which the renter moved to on or after 29 March 2021, then all new rental laws will apply.
However, if a lease agreement is a fixed-term rental agreement that started before the 29 March 2021, or a month-to-month lease agreement which the renter/s moved to before 29 March 2021 then some amendments (such as Minimum Standards and Safety Related activities) will not apply until that agreement ends, or where these are required to comply by a prescribed date.
Navigating these times can be challenging – we’re here to help.
For more information on the reforms, visit: