10 great things about the RTA Amendment Bill


The Victorian Government have passed the Residential Tenancies Act Amendment Bill and Council to Homeless Persons anticipate that these changes to Victoria’s rental market will see fewer Victorians experience homelessness as well as making renting much fairer. 

Here are 10 of our favourite things about the RTA Amendment Bill: 

1. No-reason notices to vacate will be gone

Prior to this Bill, landlords were allowed to evict a tenant without giving any reason.  Depending on the tenant’s circumstances, this could mean being evicted straight into homelessness. Under the RTA Amendment Bill, all evictions will now have to come with cause and,  where the cause is not a fault of the renter (ie. renovations), with proof.

 

2. A suite of protections for victim-survivors of family violence

The RTA Amendment Bill provides protections against evictions, debts, or blacklisting because of damage done to a property by a perpetrator of family violence. It also provides tenancy protections for victim-survivors when they’re not on the lease, the apportionment of debts between the two parties, and stronger abilities for victims to break a lease if they are in danger. 

3. A “reasonableness test” for all evictions

Evictions that are not reasonable will no longer be allowed. Under the Bill,  VCAT must consider the following when deciding if an eviction is reasonable; if the breach is recurring, if it is trivial, if it’s been fixed, if it can soon be fixed, and what the landlord’s behaviour has been. 

 

4. Stronger protections against eviction for late payment

A new breach process will mean that a tenant may be late on their rent up to five times within a 12 month period before facing certain eviction. Currently, if you are 14 days in arrears, your landlord can give you a 14-day Notice to Vacate. 

 

5. Minimum standards for rental properties

While most of the standards will be drafted at a later date, we know that they will include absolute essentials that Victorian renters are not yet entitled to under the law,  including: locks on doors and windows, heating, energy efficiency, and the absence of mould, damp and pests.

6. Centrepay must be accepted by landlords

Landlords must allow tenants to nominate Centrepay to pay their rent – meaning it is automatically deducted on payment day.

 

7. VCAT can refer a tenant to a financial counsellor

If a tenant comes back from a financial counsellor with a workable payment plan, this will stop an eviction for arrears.

 

8. VCAT may dismiss an eviction if the tenant has a need for social support or alternative accommodation

This means that those who are at risk of homelessness because of their unmet needs will have a new opportunity to stay housed while they get those needs met.

 

9. Free access to see if you’re on a Residential Tenancy Database

Which means that people can check if they’re on the blacklist, and if they are wrongly listed, get it removed. 

 

10.Improved rights to have pets

Landlords can’t deny a tenant the right to have pets without a reason. They will have just 14 days to object to a tenant’s right to have a pet.

 

The Residential Tenancies Amendment Act represents a significant rebalancing of the rental market, making it fairer for renters and, in turn, reducing homelessness in our state. Congratulations to everyone who supported the #MakeRentingFair campaign.