Victorian residential landlords to lose right to up the rent twice yearly

Victorian residential landlords to lose right to up the rent twice yearly
Victorian residential landlords to lose right to up the rent twice yearly

The Victorian government has announced reforms to the rental market.

The reforms include limiting rent increases for the same tenant to once a year. 

The government will also abolish "no specified reason" notices to vacate, and new restrictions will be placed on ending leases without a reason at the end of a lease when that lease has lasted more than one fixed term.

The State Labor Government says "a rent increase every 6 months can put strain on the hip pockets of renters."

Less frequent rent increases will help tenants manage cost of living pressures.

"Rent increases are changing from being able to be increased every 12 months instead of every 6 months," the government signalled.

"Rent increases must be reasonable.

"Tenants have the right to appeal to VCAT if they believe an increase is excessive compared with the market rent," the government announced.

Landlords will be expected to put their best foot forward from the outset of the rental process by settling on a realistic fixed price, enabling applicants to broadly rely on the advertised price when looking for their next rental property.

All landlords and agents must:

  • be advertised at a fixed price (no ranges or ’price plus’ advertising)
  • not invite prospective tenants to make an offer at a price higher than the fixed price (including via technology platforms)

The reforms require amendments to Residential Tenancies Act 1997. The process to amend the RTA is underway.

Victorian landlords and real estate agents risk being put on a blacklist under these state government reforms aimed at giving tenants more rights.

Premier Daniel Andrews says the changes will also prevent blanket bans on pets in rentals, establish a commissioner for residential tenancies, and force landlords to disclose to potential tenants plans to sell.

"For too long we've had an imbalance and things have not been as fair as they should be," he 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."

"The one in four Victorians that rent their home have for a long time have been owed a much fairer deal, and we are going to give it to them,'' Mr Andrews said.

The legislation will be introduced to parliament in 2018.

Consumer Affairs Minister Marlene Kairouz says potential renters will still be able to offer additional money to secure a place.

"Real estate agents will be prohibited from advertising a range for the rental price ... they have to advertise the exact amount," she said.

"If a renter really wants a property and is prepared to pay an extra $10 a week, they (agents) will be able to accept that but they're not able to solicit extra money."

The Real Estate Institute of Victoria was quickly critical of the government's plan, which it said would "significantly imbalance the market in favour of tenants".

"All landlords should reconsider whether they want to remain in the private rental market given their rights are being eroded," REIV chief executive Gil King said in a statement.

Current laws restrict any rental agreements to a maximum of five years but Premier Daniel Andrews said, when introducing reforms earlier this year, signalled under the new rules there would be no "artificial cap."

One-year leases are the norm for most renters in Victoria.

Tags: 
Victoria Property Management

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