The proposed changes in Victoria’s rental laws are now being tackled in Parliament. The Andrews government released details of the amendments last week and several provisions are expected to go unopposed.
Some provisions that are sure to be approved include the one protecting tenants experiencing domestic violence and the clampdown on rental bidding. Once passed, the new rules will allow victims of family violence to go directly to VCAT and request that their alleged abusers be removed from a lease. The VCAT would be tasked to hear the claim in three business days while real estate agents will be prohibited from recording black marks on tenancy databases against victims of family violence who ended a lease.
The proposed provision concerning a tenant’s right to own a pet in a rental property has become the most controversial among the new rules.
According to the Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV), landlords would continue to do what they want such as deny leases to renters who own pets and end leases if they do not want pets in their property. REIV president Richard Simpson also expressed his objection to giving tenants more rights to veto any photos being taken for real estate listing and allowing renters to be paid compensation for sales inspections.
Tenants Victoria chief executive Mark O’Brien, for his part, said the proposed changes to the rental laws are important in achieving a balance between the rights of tenants and property owners. He added renters have long been treated as second-class citizens and it is not right for the REIV to favor the landlords and allow them to be unreasonable with other people.
Other proposed amendments in the rental laws are the following:
Rent increases will be limited to once a year and tenants must be informed of their right to dispute. Also, rent increases should be stated in the tenancy agreement.
Renters who are suffering hardship can requested to have their lease terminated.
Deceased estates will not be liable for unpaid rent.
New fines will also be implemented with the goal of controlling the behaviour of the landlord and agent.
Certain modifications will be allowed without the need for renters to get approval.
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By Wendy Chamberlain
Copyright 2018 | All Rights Reserved
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