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Update on changes to rental laws

Residential Rental Provider (RRP)
08 November 2018
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By now you’ve probably come across some of the media coverage of the recent changes to Residential Tenancy Laws in Victoria – they’ve certainly got people talking! However, as is often the case with changes like these, the coverage from the media has not always been particularly accurate, so we’ve had quiet a few calls from landlords and tenants wanting to clarify what these rental laws mean.

Given the level of interest, I thought this might be a good opportunity to address some of the most common questions that we are being asked.

The first point I want to emphasise it that, at the time of writing this post the new laws are not expected to come into effect until July 2020. Yes, that’s more than 18 months away, so there is no need to do anything in a hurry! Equally important is our belief that for many landlords, there will be no need to change anything once these laws come into effect.

Another point that has gained plenty of media attention is the change to rules regarding pets in rented properties. Many reports have indicated that the new laws will enable a tenant, (or renter as they will become known), to keep a pet at rented premises. What the reports haven’t mentioned is that this will only be the case if the landlord has consented in writing, or the Tenancy Tribunal has made an order permitting it.

Yes, the new laws state that a landlord will not be able to ‘unreasonably’ refuse consent to a request to keep a pet at the premises. However, the other side of the equation is that a landlord (or their agent) may apply to the Tribunal for an order that it is reasonable to refuse consent to keep a pet on the rented premises.

In this situation, the new laws will require the Tribunal to consider the following key factors in making this determination:

  1. The type of pet in question;
  2. The character and nature of the rented premises, including the appliances, fixtures and fittings on the rented premises; and
  3. Any other matter it considers relevant.

Clearly, this is a very different situation to the way the media has been portraying the whole question of pets in rental properties!

Over the coming months I will attempt to answer more questions about these new laws, but as I mentioned earlier these new laws are still a long way from taking effect. In the meantime, if you have any questions regarding the changes, or the Melbourne rental market in general, you can always give me or one of my team a call on 03 9319 1700.

Residential Rental Provider (RRP)
08 November 2018
Save Article

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