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Renters will get a fair go under tenancy changes

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October 13, 2017

The Victorian Government will make renting fairer, with a swag of tenancy reforms.

The Victorian Government will make renting fairer, with a swag of tenancy reforms.

More than one in four Victorians rent their home, a number that is increasing as it becomes more difficult for many Victorians to break into the housing market.

The government’s rental fairness package gives tenants more rights, helps them stay on longer leases, makes bonds smaller and fairer, and cracks down on dodgy landlords.

The government will crack down on rental bidding — a scourge that forces would-be tenants to out-bid each other on rent — and will limit rent increases to once-a-year to give renters more financial stability.

Renters will get better long-term security by abolishing ‘no specified reason’ notices to vacate, and new restrictions will be placed on ending leases without a reason at the end of a lease when that lease has lasted more than one fixed term.

These measures build on the Andrews Government’s introduction of long-term leases to give tenants security.

To end discrimination against renters with pets, the government will give every tenant the right to own a pet, and while landlords will still need to provide consent, they will only be able refuse in certain circumstances.

It will be easier for tenants to make minor modifications to the rental property, such as installing hooks for picture frames — and there will be faster reimbursements for tenants who pay for urgent repairs.

Bonds will be capped at one month’s rent where the rent is twice the current median weekly rent — currently equivalent to $760 per week or less.

This reform will also apply to rent that is paid in advance.

The government will also ensure faster release of bonds at the end of a tenancy.

Under the reform, tenants will be able to apply for the release of bond without written consent from their landlord, who will have 14 days to raise a dispute before the bond is repaid automatically.

There will be a crackdown on dodgy landlords with the introduction of a landlord and estate agent blacklist available to renters. False, misleading, and deceptive claims by landlords will also be outlawed.

A new Commissioner for Residential Tenancies will be set up to help champion the rights of Victorian renters and give them a voice in future reform of renting laws over the years to come.

●For more information about the rental fairness package, visit: rentfair.vic.gov.au

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