Family of four moving into house carrying boxes

Rental security

Landlords’ ability to terminate a tenancy for reasons other than those prescribed by the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (RTA) does not adequately protect tenants against unfair termination of their tenancies. In some cases, the possibility of unfair evictions compromises tenants’ willingness to access other protections in the RTA during a tenancy, for fear of retaliatory termination.

These reforms aim to improve the balance of bargaining power between the parties, and to encourage landlords to be more transparent about their reasons for wishing to end a tenancy.

Reforms

Landlords must give a reason to end a tenancy

We will remove the 120 day ‘no specified reason’ notice to vacate from the RTA. In practice, this will mean that landlords will only be able to end a tenancy for a reason specified in the RTA.

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

Landlords will only be able to end tenancies using an ‘end of fixed term’ notice to vacate at the end of the first fixed term. At the end of any subsequent terms, a landlord will only be able to end a tenancy using one of the grounds specified in the RTA. This will encourage longer term leasing arrangements to become the norm.

For tenants who receive an ‘end of fixed term’ notice, they will now be able to give 14 days’ notice to vacate the property, rather than having to pay rent until the end of the fixed term. This will stop tenants missing out on new homes because they have to wait until the end of the fixed term, or paying double rent when they find a new home.

It is unfair for a tenant to live in fear of being told, without reason, to vacate the property at the end of their lease. Without this change, the ‘end of fixed term’ notice would simply become a new version of the ‘no specified reason’ notice.

False, misleading or deceptive representations

A landlord or agent will be prohibited from making false, misleading or deceptive representations to induce a tenant to enter into a residential tenancy agreement.

If the landlords breach of this requirement is serious enough, the tenant will be able to go to Victorian Civil & Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to end the tenancy or seek compensation.

This reform will promote accuracy and honesty in the rental market, while ensuring trivial misrepresentations are not used as an excuse by tenants to end tenancies.

Pre-contractual disclosure

Requiring pre-contractual disclosure by landlords of the known presence of asbestos in premises, and other important information to the tenant before they sign on the dotted line, including any proposal to sell the property, or if the landlord knows of any asbestos previously identified at the property.

Landlords will be required to disclose certain important information to the tenant before they sign on the dotted line, including any proposal to sell the property, or if the landlord knows of any asbestos previously identified at the property.

Long term leases

Many Victorians want the certainty of a longer term lease. And despite short leases being the norm in Victoria, more than 1 in 5 renters have been in their home for longer than 5 years.

To give renters greater security, a new optional standard long-term lease agreement is under development. Our new laws will mean that landlords and tenants wishing to enter into arrangements of more than 5 years will now benefit from the protections in the RTA.

Making Rent Fair - Lesley

Read Lesley's transcript.

The reforms require amendments to Residential Tenancies Act 1997. The process to amend the RTA is underway.