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 In Lifestyle, Lifestyle Property Management

Marshall White Property Management

Critical Changes to the Residential Tenancies Act

A raft of sweeping changes to the Residential Tenancies Act gives more rights to renters and more responsibility to Residential Rental Providers. These changes will also heavily impact the sales market.

“Firstly, you’ll notice the language has changed. Landlords are now known as Residential Rental Providers (RRPs) and Tenants are referred to as renters,” explains Anthony Wiseman, Marshall White Property Manager Team Leader and Partner.

He says the change to the language is just one of more than 120 changes that are the outcomes of series of workshops on safer, fairer housing which began back in 2015.

“The rental market has always led the way in setting safety standards across the board. For example smoke alarms, which were originally legislated for rental properties, are now standardised into new builds.”

Anthony says some older properties on Marshall White’s books will need work done to comply with the new requirements, however he believes most RRPs will see the value in investing in safety upgrades to their properties.

“There will be some period homes that don’t meet the gas and electricity checks. These new changes will bring all homes up to the 21st century and while it will come at some expense to RRPs, it will maintain the safety of their renters,” Anthony explains.

He believes the changes provide clarity and transparency around what were a few ‘grey areas’.

“For example, owners of older properties can no longer potentially offer reduced rent because of problems such as mould or rising damp. Now, if the property doesn’t comply, we can’t rent it out.”

“Our team is working with our clients to make sure all our properties are safe and compliant,” he says.

Rental Minimum Standards apply to:

–  Door locks, windows and window locks
–  Vermin proof rubbish and recycling bins
–  Toilets, bathroom, laundry and kitchen facilities
–  Structural soundness, mould and dampness
–  Window coverings, lighting, ventilation, and heating

Another big change is the disclosure statement that all RRPs must complete for prospective renters.

“It’s similar to a Section 32,” Anthony explains, “I believe it is a good thing in that it streamlines the process of ensuring the property meets minimum residential standards and provides upfront information to the renter.”

What must be disclosed prior to offering a property for rent

–  Any ongoing proposal to sell the property
–  Details of any embedded electricity network in the property
–  Whether there has been a homicide at the property in the previous 5 years
–  Details of electrical and gas safety checks
–  Matters relating to mould or damp, asbestos, building defects, or prior drug contamination
–  Details of building and planning permits (including neighbouring properties and heritage listings), building disputes and owner corporation disputes and rules

There are a range of conditions and restrictions now in play around renters’ rights when an RRP says they are going to sell.

“The RRP must provide proof that the property is genuinely on the market before serving notice to vacate. This is another change designed to stop a ‘loophole’ or grey area. There are also some complicated rules around showing potential buyers a property that is rented,” Anthony explains.

Selling a Tenanted Property

–  The renter must be provided with a Notice to Sell at least 14 days prior to first sales inspection
–  Each time a sales agent shows the property to a potential buyer they must provide 48 hours’ notice and pay the renter $30 or the equivalent of ½ day’s rent
–  The sales agent cannot show potential buyers through more than twice weekly and for no more than one hour
–  Seven days’ notice is required for entry to property for photography/filming and marketing purpose
–  There are restrictions on what can and cannot be filmed

Anthony believes it would make economic sense to market the property for sale after it has been vacated.

“The property can then be cleaned and styled – rather than the complicated business of showing potential buyers through a rented property that doesn’t show it in its best light.”

To view the full changes to the Residential Tenancies Act visit the CAV website or contact the Marshall White Property Management Team for further details.

Should you require advice on any aspect of leasing your property, contact our Marshall White Property Management Team for assistance. For more information contact us on (03) 9822 8711.

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