Rent to buy schemes to be banned in Victoria unless officially approved

Rent to buy schemes to be banned in Victoria unless officially approved
Rent to buy schemes to be banned in Victoria unless officially approved

Rent-to-buy schemes aimed at low-income Victorians will be banned under new laws introduced to the State Parliament which have potential jail time for vendors and third-party intermediaries.

The schemes - typically offered on properties on Melbourne's outskirts - are marketed as offering a pathway to home ownership for people unable to get a mortgage, by paying rent for a few years and then refinancing on their own. 

But there are typically exorbitant rents and legal fees.

The victims lose their first-home buyers grant.

It is often followed by moving out of their home after being unable to afford the payments.

Developers and financial services groups face fines ranging from $19,000 to $190,000 and or jail time for vendors and third-party intermediaries. 

Under the proposed laws, those who buy residential land under a dodgy rent-to-buy arrangement would be able to get a refund, excluding money paid that represents fair market rent.

Consumer Affairs minister Marlene Kairouz said the new laws would stamp out unscrupulous businesses taking advantage of people who can least afford it.

“Whether it’s putting a stop to so-called rent-to-buy schemes or restricting the terms of contracts for residential property, we’re stamping out the ripping off and exploitation of families by greedy parts of the financial services sector and dodgy developers,” Kairouz said.

The government does recognise that rent-to-buy schemes may emerge in the future, but the arrangement would need to involve the Director of Housing, a registered housing association or a similar organisation as determined by the government.

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Victoria

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