Update on Tenancy Reforms
Review of the Residential Tenancies Act
Our current rental laws are 20 years old and the needs of renters and landlords have changed dramatically.
The outcomes of the review of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 will ensure regulation of Victoria’s rental sector meets the needs of tenants and landlords. From mid-2015 to early 2017, the review examined issues including security of tenure, dispute resolution and the regulation of property conditions.
The central theme of security of tenure, which provided the impetus for the review, informed a range of reform proposals. These included a requirement that landlords have clear reasons for ending tenancies, protections against termination when tenants seek to enforce their rights, and more flexibility for tenants to end a tenancy early when they receive a notice to vacate. The review also canvassed options for requiring landlords who intend to sell their property to disclose this before entering into a tenancy agreement.
On 8 October 2017, the Victorian Government announced a range of agreed reforms focused particularly on advancing the rights of tenants. Key reforms included annualised rental increases, clearer rights about keeping pets, restrictions on rental bidding, a landlord and agent blacklist, and the removal of landlords’ ability to terminate a tenancy for no specified reason.
These reforms are part of a broader package that aims to promote a modern and dynamic rental market that meets the needs of the Victorian community now and into the future.
Changes recommended as part of the review are expected to be introduced into the Victorian Parliament in 2018. This will help ensure the growing number of Victorians who are renting, and the people they rent from, are better supported by the regulatory framework for residential tenancies.