Have your say on rental laws

Victoria’s renting laws are set to change in a big way – with implementation of the full suite of reforms by 1 July 2020.

Over 130 new reforms will affect all types of rental housing. They will increase protections for renters, and ensure rental providers can still effectively manage their properties.

The Department of Justice and Community Safety has released proposed regulations to support the new laws, together with a Regulatory Impact Statement outlining the costs and benefits of the regulations to the community. You can access these on: www.engage.vic.gov.au/rentingregulations

This is our opportunity to provide written feedback on how the new regulations will impact the community housing sector and our clients.

CHIA Vic will be consulting with the sector and preparing a submission, however you may also wish to put in your own submission.

Submissions can be public or anonymous and should be submitted by 5pm on 18 December 2019 on Engage Victoria. The outcomes of the consultation will be published in April 2020.

Key proposed regulations

Prohibited questions

Rental providers and their agents will be prohibited from asking for certain information in rental applications. This includes information on the applicant’s rental bond history.

Minimum standards

Rental providers must ensure that their rental property meets certain minimum standards on or before the move-in date.

The proposed minimum standards include:

  • a toilet in good working order
  • a reasonable supply of hot and cold water
  • electrical safety requirements in line with rooming house standards
  • window coverings to ensure privacy in bedrooms and the main living area
  • a fixed heater in the property’s main living area, which includes an energy efficiency requirement in standalone rented premises.

Standards relating to window coverings and electrical safety will be delayed to give rental providers time to upgrade their properties.

The standard relating to heating will also be phased in over three years to allow both rental providers and the industry to adjust.

All other rental minimum standards apply to rental agreements entered into from 1 July 2020.

Property modifications

Renters will be able to make certain modifications to their homes without the consent of the rental provider. Prior consent is needed for all other modifications.

The renter must restore the property to its original condition (subject to fair wear and tear) at the end of the rental agreement. Residents living in a rooming house, caravan park or residential park will need the operator’s consent for any modifications.

The renter does not have to seek the rental provider’s consent to:

  • replace curtains (while keeping the originals); and
  • install adhesive child safety locks on drawers and doors.

There is also a list of modifications where a renter must seek the rental provider’s consent, and which the rental provider cannot unreasonably refuse.

The proposed list includes:

  • installing picture hooks or screws for wall mounts, shelves or brackets on brick walls
  • installing wall anchoring devices on brick walls to secure items of furniture
  • installing a vegetable or herb garden.

More information

Find out more about the reforms or to sign up for email updates on the Changes to renting laws webpage.