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Residential Tenancies Bill: the campaign continues

REIV release 30 January 2019

Late last year the Andrews Government passed the Residential Tenancies Act. The new Act is the most comprehensive change to residential tenancies in 20 years.

It is a very complex piece of legislation.  It is very important to remember that the Act has not come into effect yet. This means the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 remains the law.

The Government will be working with REIV and other stakeholders to develop a range of Regulations that sit alongside the Act and make it workable and understandable. This process has not started yet and will take some time. The Government has indicated that it expects this process could take up to 18 months, as such the new Act may not come into effect until as late as July 2020.

The REIV is working with the Government and Consumer Affairs Victoria to ensure this process is timely but also comprehensive – it’s important we get the Regulations right. Remember, we are in the box seat.

Once the Regulations are in place, the REIV will provide training to members on the changes to ensure that members have accurate information.
 

7 September 2018

The Residential Tenancies Bill passed the Parliament on 6 September 2018.
 
The commencement date of the Bill has yet to be proclaimed.  There will be a period of consultation around the regulations which will sit alongside the legislation and that could take up to 18 months.
 
The REIV will continue to advocate on behalf of our members and their clients to ensure the regulations are workable.
 
The current Residential Tenancies Act 1997 remains in place for the foreseeable future. 
 
The REIV campaigned strongly against elements of the legislation which swing the pendulum of rights overwhelmingly over to renters.

Our main areas of concern are:

Proposed in RTA Bill

REIV Position

 
 Pets:

 A tenant can bring a pet to your property without   your consent. You have 14 days to take the   tenants to VCAT.

 Could take six (6) months for the pet to be   removed.

 Pet could damage your property.

 The Landlord must give consent. And where   the parties have agreed to a pet, there   should be a pet bond.

 
 Modifications:

 Tenant can make modifications to property   without landlord's consent. These are defined in   the legislation, nonetheless, one unintended   consequence relates to warranties.

 No modifications or urgent repairs   are to   occur without the landlord's prior consent.


 Appliance upgrades to meet environmental   standards:

 Landlords to upgrade all appliances (white   goods, fixures and fittings, heating and cooling)   to meet energy efficiency standards. While the   standard has not been defined, the landlord is   required to comply immediately. Failure to do so   means the landlord will be liable for the tenant's   excess charges.

 This must be incremental with the landlord   given time to make the upgrades. The   Government needs to look at ways of   incentivising this with rebate schemes and   the like. Failure to do so will drive up rents. 


 Rental arrears:

 Currently a tenant can be taken to VCAT on     three sequential occassions. The Bill proposes   five opportunities for a tenant to bring arrears up   to date. Under this proposal a landlord could not   receive agreed rental payment 42 per cent of   the year.

 Simplify the number of times a tenant can be   taken to the Tribunal. Rental arrears causes   significant mortgage stress on landowners. If   the system becomes more complex, it is   likely that landlords will repurpose their rental   property for other forms income streams   such as Airbnb.

120 Day "No reason" Notice to vacate

Removal of 120 day "No reason" Notice to vacate

 Reinstatement of the 120 Day ‘No Reason’   Notice to Vacate.

 This is a reasonable position considering a   tenant can leave the property with only 28   day’s notice to the landlord. 

 Landlords typically use this provision if they   require possession of their rental property for   a reason that is not specified in the Act.  



The REIV acknowledges that the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 requires an update and there are many aspects of the Bill that we support including:

      ·         Protection for agents and landlords against threats and intimidation            of tenants

      ·         Outlawing rental bidding

      ·         Proposals around family violence and protected persons

      ·         Reforms around minimum standards for safety

      ·         Protections against any type of criminal activity

        

      Have your say against the proposed changes to the RTA


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