Residential Tenancies Act Review Update



Victoria’s Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) is currently under review. The Act was last reviewed in the 1990s – before the internet had even entered the mainstream. Hence the review is an opportunity to bring elements of rental legislation into the 21st century. At the same time, some of the proposals put to the review require further consideration.

The Victorian Government released an options paper earlier this year which evaluated potential reforms to the Act. Among these are:

• Security of tenure – including lease terms, when and how a lease agreement can be terminated, when and how rents may be increased, and the standard to which the property must be maintained. Up for consideration is whether longer leases of five or more years should be available, and if landlords should be able to remove tenants from their property without first presenting their concerns to VCAT.

• Pet ownership – the extent to which a landlord can prohibit a tenant from keeping a pet and possible mechanisms to encourage landlords to accept pets. The review is considering a ‘pet bond’ payable when a tenant keeps a pet, pet consent clauses in leases, and making ‘no pet’ clauses unenforceable.

• Rights of entry – balancing a landlord’s rights of entry during a tenancy with the tenant’s right to quiet enjoyment of the property. Up for consideration are options including seven days’ notice for a general inspection or valuation and tenant compensation for open-for-inspections conducted during a sales campaign.

• Property conditions and modifications – cleanliness, security and access to services; property modifications; damage; and maintenance and repairs. Among other things, the review is considering increasing minimum repair amounts and removing a landlord’s right to refuse non-structural modifications to their property.

• Terminating a tenancy – rights and responsibilities. The review is considering removing an owner’s right to serve a 120-day notice on a tenant to terminate a periodic tenancy for no reason.

At Gary Peer and Associates we believe the current focus of changes to the RTA is weighted in favour of tenants. Property owners deserve to have their rights, and their asset, protected. In fact removing landlord rights may discourage owners from putting their property onto the rental market and could potentially drive up the cost of renting through a reduction in supply.

For more information visit www.fairersaferhousing.com.au or speak to your property manager.

 

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