rental couple
Tenants can now perform minor modifications without landlords consent. Image – Canva
  • 130 changes include tenants being able to install child safety devices without approval
  • Landlords cannot 'unreasonably refuse' modifications such as installing flyscreens
  • REIV says the reforms disadvantage 'Mum and Dad' investors

In January, the Victorian Government announced amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act will go ahead in March after being postponed due to the pandemic.

The reform is designed to protect landlords and tenants alike by establishing clearer guidelines on each parties responsibilities.

The new reforms – which total 130 changes – will come into force today.

“These reforms are about giving renters the right to safe, secure and affordable accommodation, while ensuring rental providers can continue to manage their properties effectively.”

“We’re delivering on our promise to make renting fair for all Victorians – whether you’re a renter or a rental provider, the new laws will make a positive difference to how we view renting in Victoria.”

Melissa Horne, Minister for Consumer Affairs

Under the legislation, landlords are to ensure basic living standards for tenants including functioning hot and cold water in the bathroom and laundry along with functioning stovetops, ovens and sinks in a kitchen.

Tenants also have a framework whereby they can perform minor modifications without landlord permission such as installing child safety devices, picture hooks and replacing curtains.

Additionally, rental providers cannot ‘unreasonably refuse’ planting a vegetable or herb garden along with installing security gates and flyscreens.

However, the news has not been welcomed by all.

Back in January, the Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV) CEO, Gil King, said that the standards would result in an unbalanced regulatory burden in the rental market.

“Increasing ownership costs and making maintenance and management of property more complex is a deterrent for investment.”
“New costs introduced through these changes are likely to result in higher rents and could see Mum and Dad investors exit this asset class, putting further pressure on rental availability and affordability for Victorians.”

Gil King, CEO of REIV

Other rent rule changes will begin as of today too.

One includes the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, which can now only issue an order requiring a renter to vacate if it is reasonable and proportionate to do so.

Additionally, to end a rental agreement, providers must provide valid reasons – ‘no specified reasons’ notices to vacate will no longer be allowed.

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