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Proposed changes to Residential Tenancies Act

Property Law: 23 March 2019

The Andrews Government this week announced changes to the Victorian Residential Tenancies Act 1997(Vic) (Act)aimed at giving tenants greater powers, information and security in relation to residential renting arrangements.  The changes come as a result of the Government's review of the Act.

Some of the proposed changes include:

  • The removal of the right of the Landlord to terminate a tenancy on 120 days' notice for 'no specified reason'. 
  • The ability of the Landlord to end tenancies using an 'end of fixed term' notice to vacate will only apply at the end of the first fixed term.  At the end of any subsequent term, a Landlord will only be able to end a tenancy using one of the other grounds specified in the Act.  Where a Tenant receives an 'end of fixed term' notice, they will now have the ability to give 14 days' notice to the Landlord to vacate the property, rather than having to pay rent until the end of the fixed term.
  • The development of a new long-term standard tenancy agreement for tenancies of more than five years.  It is proposed that the standard tenancy agreement will be developed in consultation with stakeholders and implemented at some stage in 2018.   It is also proposed that there will be protections for tenants relating to long term tenancies included in the Act.
  • A limitation on the ability of a Landlord to increase the rent more than once in every 12 months period (previously once every 6 months).
  • The right of Tenants to keep pets provided the Landlord's written consent is obtained (which cannot be unreasonably withheld).
  • A tighter regulation and crack-down on rental bidding between Tenants vying for the same property.  The proposal is that all Landlords (including their agent) must:
    • advertised a property at a fixed price (with a prohibition on ranges or price plus advertising); and
    • not invite prospective Tenants to make an offer at a price higher than the fixed price.
  • The introduction of a Landlord and Agent 'blacklist' where Landlords and Agents who have previously breached their obligations under the Act can be listed.
  • A requirement for Landlords to disclose certain information to Tenants before entering into Tenancy Agreements.  This information would include matters such as any proposal to sell the property, or if the Landlord knows of any asbestos previously identified at the property.

Aitken Partners will keep you informed as the changes unfold.

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