How The New Tenancy Laws Will Impact You
With more than one in four Australians renting their homes, for better or worse Victoria’s tenancy laws are changing.
The Andrews Government has promised to ‘make renting fairer’ with sweeping changes primarily aimed at increasing security of tenure for renters, sparking a fiery debate between renters and landlords.
Recent survey findings suggest that eighty-five per cent of renters perceive landlords to be ‘too powerful’ with the freedom evict without cause. These reforms seek to eliminate ‘no-cause evictions’ and limit rental increases to once per year. Landlords can still evict if there is damage to the property or if rent is not paid, they will just have to provide a reason.
The increasingly common practice of rental bidding, where would-be tenants attempt to out-bid each other in order to secure the property, will also be stamped out as part of the reforms. Similarly, rental properties must also be advertised at a fixed price and bonds will largely be capped at four weeks’ rent.
According to the RSPCA, last year strict rental laws accounted for sixteen percent of surrendered pets, making this the number one reason for owners reluctantly parting with their pets. One of the most controversial changes seeks to address this by prohibiting landlords banning pets without a valid reason. While this reform is being touted as allowing all renters to keep pets it is important to note renters will still be required to acquire permission from the landlord and preexisting owner’s corporation rules will not be affected.
“Last year strict rental laws accounted for sixteen percent of surrendered pets, making this the number one reason for owners reluctantly parting with their pets.”
As more individuals and families begin renting long-term other quality of life reforms including the ability to make minor property modifications, such as installing picture hooks, have been proposed. While these laws were intended to balance the rights of landlords and renters, landlords are overwhelmingly concerned about protecting their assets from damage.
The Real Estate Institute of Victoria has expressed concern that these reforms will unfairly impact mum and dad investors, with some even threatening to pull their properties from the market. There are concerns that the cost of rent will increase amid a potentially worsening supply shortage. Others dismiss these more extreme reactions as a knee jerk response from a small group of landlords who can afford to keep empty properties.
Amid anticipation legislation will pass in early 2018, the question remains, will they actually make renting fairer for all? Only time will tell.