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.
We are very excited to share that the ‘RentFair’ Bill has just passed through both houses of Parliament. WE DID IT!!! None of this would have been possible without your hard work and support. THANK YOU! ✊🍾🎉 #MakeRentingFair pic.twitter.com/qGBaM6mizr
— Tenants Victoria (@TenantsUnionVic) September 6, 2018
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.
Did you know that family violence is the single largest driver of homelessness for women in Australia? We’re doing something to help protect these tenants tomorrow – stay tuned. #MakeRentingFair pic.twitter.com/b7k2UPLC96
— Tenants Victoria (@TenantsUnionVic) April 4, 2018
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.
— Victoria Legal Aid (@VicLegalAid) August 1, 2017
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.
Pets help to make homes better and help people with long term #mentalhealth Ask @DanielAndrewMP to make good on his #MakeRentingFair promises here https://t.co/z20Cvt5jBE @wellwaysau @TenantsUnionVic #springst #health pic.twitter.com/3N25tfPTqE
— Wellways (@Wellwaysau) February 23, 2018
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.