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An Update on Rental Legislation

As part of our commitment to keeping all of our property owners informed, I wanted to let you know what has been happening with the proposed changes to the regulations that govern the property rental market in Victoria.

First and foremost, you need to be aware that the State Government has extended the ‘Covid-19 Omnibus Emergency Measures Act 2020’ until 28th March 2021. For landlords, this extension means that the moratorium on rental evictions will be extended until 28th March 2021, except in specific exceptional circumstances, such as:

  • Owners that must occupy their property
  • Selling the property, and vacant possession is required
  • Tenants damaging the property
  • Premises being used for criminal activity
  • Tenant wilfully withholding rent when they could pay.

All of these circumstances require relevant evidence to identify why the property must be vacated during the pandemic. It is a lengthy process involving a VCAT hearing, which owners should be present for.

In addition, a notice to increase rent or a proposal to increase rental cannot be served until after 29th March 2021. As there is a minimum requirement for 60 days’ notice, rents cannot increase until June 2021 at the earliest.

Delay introducing the Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2018

The extension of the Covid-19 legislation means that the Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2018 will now be introduced by 29 March 2021, rather than the original date of 1st July 2020.

Our property managers have undertaken many hours of specialised legislative training in preparation for the upcoming amendments to ensure that we remain fully informed about all the changes and to assist in guiding our clients through these changes.

The Regulations that support the amendments have still not been finalised by Consumer Affairs Victoria, however the proposed changes will apply to all new tenancies following the implementation of the Act. Some of the proposed changes that have been outlined so far include:

  • Locks - all external entry doors must have a functioning single action deadlock.
  • Windows - all external windows which are capable of opening must be able to be set in a closed or open position; and have functioning latches to secure against external entry.
  • Heating - an energy efficient fixed heater in good working order is to be installed in the main living area of all rented premises.
  • Window coverings - each window in a living area or bedroom is to be fitted with a curtain or blind that can be opened or closed by the renter to reasonably block light and provide reasonable privacy. (This will be phased in by 2022).
  • Structural soundness - the rented premises must be structurally sound and weatherproof.
  • Mould and dampness - each room must be free from mould and damp caused by or related to the building structure.
  • Electrical safety – an electrical safety check of all electrical installations, fittings and appliances is to be conducted by a licensed or registered electrician every two years.
  • Smoke alarms - each smoke alarm must be correctly installed and in working condition with testing occurring at least once every 12 months, and the batteries replaced as required.
  • Gas safety - a safety check of all gas installations and fittings is to be conducted by a licensed or registered gasfitter every two years.

We are hoping that by the end of 2020, Consumer Affairs Victoria will provide the much awaited finalisation of these Regulations. This will enable us to provide you with the full list of requirements and to assist you in making sure that your property is fully compliant.

In the meantime, if you have any questions regarding the future leasing requirements of your rental property, don’t hesitate to give the Barry Plant Brimbank Rentals team a call on 9390 8333.

Best wishes,

Sam La Spina

Rental Director