Proposed Residential Tenancies Act Reforms

Significant reforms to the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) are poised to be tabled in parliament over the coming months. These reforms provide greater rights to tenants and heavily impact property managers and landlords. While the REIV (Real Estate Institute of Victoria) continues to lobby against the unbalanced reforms, we need to ensure you – our clients – are aware and have the opportunity to be heard!

Below is an exert taken from the REIV website detailing its objections and concerns relating to new proposed reforms to existing legislation as part of the Governments initiative for ‘Fairer Safer Housing’.

We have provided a summary of the details of the potential reforms below including a short explanation of what these amendments may mean to you as a landlord.  To object to these reforms simply click on the link and sign the petition as provided by the REIV – more than 18,800 people have already signed the petition, to date.

To contact the Government there is also a link to a full list of local MP’s along with a ‘template letter’ that the REIV have put together for your use. The REIV have also provided more information including a summary of the key aspects of the proposed legislation, a link to the full RTA Options paper, as well as a history of what the REIV have done to date in attempting to block the proposed changes. To go to the full article on the REIV website, please click the link below.

“Is this really ‘Fairer Safer Housing’?”

Since 2015, the Victorian Government has been undertaking a review of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 as part of its platform for housing related initiatives entitled ‘Fairer Safer Housing’.

The final RTA Options Paper was released in January 2017 and outlined an extensive range of proposed changes. Many of these options are of concern to the REIV as they have the ability to negatively impact on landlords and property managers.

Reforms announced

Recently, the Government announced significant changes to the Residential Tenancies Act with 14 reforms outlined – all of which are tenant focused.

Changes include:

Removal of the 120-day Notice to Vacate for ‘No Specified Reason’

This will result in having to provide extensive reasoning as to why a tenant is being vacated, possibly making it very difficult to gain the order to vacate a tenant.

Limiting the use of ‘end of fixed term’ notices to vacate

Again, if a tenant has been problematic we may no longer have the right to vacate the tenant at the end of the lease.

Bond capped at one months’ rent for all tenancies less than $760 per week

When a tenant vacates a property and rent is owed and/or damaged, and the total exceeds the bond amount, it can be difficult to chase the additional outstanding monies owed that exceeds the bond amount. In all tenancies $400pw or greater Bonaccorde requests a bond that is 6 weeks times the weekly rental amount in order to reduce the risk of this occurring.  If this change takes place, we will no longer have the right to ask for a larger bond than the one months’ rent stipulated above for tenancies less than $760pw.

Landlords unable to unreasonably refuse consent for pets

Less control for owners to monitor if there are animals kept at the property that they would otherwise have refused an application on the basis of.

Allowing tenants to make minor property modifications

This may result in the forfeit of owner’s landlord insurance as well as potentially compromising existing structures and may encourage illegal builds by tenants.

Landlord and estate agent blacklist

This could result in the NTD database becoming obsolete.

Requiring pre-contractual disclosure by landlords regarding asbestos and intention to sell

This change could seriously hinder securing a tenant and increase vacancy rates.

A new Commissioner for Residential Tenancies

The result is unknown until the identity of a New Commissioner is announced.

Early release of bonds by agreement before the end of a tenancy

This may cause challenges in that even if agreement is made to release the bond before the end of a tenancy, however between that point and the tenant vacating damage occurs or rent is unpaid for any reason, the ability for the landlord to receive monies owed becomes more difficult if the bond has already been released to the tenant.

Faster tenant reimbursement for urgent repairs

This may compromise the landlord’s ability to argue that the repair was deemed not urgent or required.

Automatic bond repayment within 14 days when a claim hasn’t been lodged

Potentially limits the time available for the property manager to negotiate with the tenant if damage has occurred and organise quotes if required.

Ban on rental bidding and rent bidding apps

Bonaccorde do not subscribe to this practice.

Rent increases restricted to once per year

It is not common practice to have more than 1 rental increase per annum.

Prohibiting false, misleading or deceptive representations by landlords or agents prior to a tenancy

We are confident that with our systems and practises that we would not ever be in a position to have provided false, misleading or deceptive representations prior to a tenancy.

“The REIV has been vocal in their objection to many of these reforms, particularly those that remove landlord rights and reduce their security over their investment. REIV Members will be updated on our progress as we continue to lobby against many of these reforms.”

REIV resources link and petition

Landlords REIV Renting
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