The Victorian government has unveiled a raft of changes to the state’s rental laws which will give every tenant the right to own a pet, scrap “no specified reason” notices to vacate, crack down on rental bidding and restrict rent hikes to once a year.
Long term leases will be introduced to give tenants greater security.
In regards to pets, landlords will still need to provide consent but they will only be able refuse in certain circumstances.
Other changes include making it easier for tenants to make minor modifications to the property, such as installing hooks for picture frames, and getting faster reimbursement when they pay for urgent repairs.
False, misleading, and deceptive claims by landlords will also be outlawed and there will be a blacklist of dodgy landlords and real estate agents.
With more than one in four Victorians renting properties, the Andrews government claims it is introducing the changes as many are now finding it more difficult to break into the housing market.
The draft legislation is the culmination of last year’s review of the state’s Residential Tenancies Act.
“For too long we’ve had an imbalance and things have not been as fair as they should be,” Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters in Melbourne on Sunday.
“The landlord and the agent have all the power and given how tight the market is, the tenant can’t speak out and has no voice.”
But the state’s peak real estate body has slammed the changes and has vowed to campaign against them.
The Real Estate Institute of Victoria says it will approach the Opposition and cross-benchers to block the changes.
And it’s warned the new controls will force up rents.
“The impact is going to be rents go up because of less stock on market for tenants,” REIV chief executive Gil King told the Herald Sun.
“It staggers me on one hand we rave about Super Saturdays yet we treat landlords like pariahs.
“Landlords who were happy to provide those rental properties will be leaving the market angry about reforms that we have warned the government about from when they were first mentioned.”