• Tristan Angelini

Changes to the Residential Tenancies Act

You may have heard of the Fairer Safer Housing platform. How did this come about?

The Fairer Safer Housing is a program established by the Victorian Government to primarily ensure that all Victorians will have access to housing that is affordable, yet safe and secure. In 2015, the Victorian Government has started to do a review of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997, which aims to protect citizens in Victoria who are living in rental housing. This should also become a standard for property managers and landlords as well. It’s been 21 years and the rental market has changed so much, which is why it is important to make some changes that can adapt to the modern times.

What was the review process?

The review was done in stages since 2015. In June that year, a consultation paper was made entitled “Laying the Groundwork” which pointed out the rental market in Victoria currently, and at the same time study how these things affect the public. This would ensure that any alterations done in the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 are fair and practical. There also had been a public consulting that was happening during the latter part of 2015 to 2016 regarding the issues that may surround the rental market housing particularly in relation to security, as well as protection for not just the residents but also for residential and caravan parks.

A public options paper was followed in 2017 as part of the consultations. This was named Heading for Home, which was basically an outline of the result of the public consultation. This paper, along with the submissions were used to begin the development of the reform package. On September 6 this year, the Residential Tenancies Bill passed the Parliament, however, the commencement date is yet to be announced and because the consultations and regulations could go on for 18 months, the current RTA 1997 will still remain.

Of course, the proposed changes would affect many people involved in the rental market, including landlords as well as the tenants. Here are the amendments proposed taken from the Real Estate Institute of Victoria:

· The removal of the 120-day Notice to Vacate for ‘No Specified Reason’

· The limit in using ‘end of fixed-term’ notices to vacate;

· Bond cap at one months’ rent for all tenancies less than $760 per week;

· Tenants to be allowed to make minor property modifications;

· Rent increase to be restricted to once per year; and

· A requirement of pre-contractual disclosure by landlords regarding asbestos and intention to sell

For the full list of proposed amendments, visit this link


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