Reforms to Residential Tenancies Act will bring fairer, safer housing

Reforms to Residential Tenancies Act will bring fairer, safer housing

Friday, 7 September 2018

After several years of advocacy from tenants’ rights advocates, including our Economic and Social Rights program, much needed rental reforms have been passed by the Victorian Parliament.

The Bill includes vital improvements to residential tenancy laws for 1.5 million Victorians. Recognising the importance of safe and secure housing for all – and how housing insecurity can lead to spiraling legal problems – we made eight submissions to the review of the Act encompassing several areas of reform.

Key changes to the Act include:

  • provision for the creation of minimum standards for rental properties
  • removing the power of a landlord to issue a notice to vacate for ‘no specified reason’
  • giving VCAT the power to decline a landlord’s application to evict a tenant, where it would not be reasonable, or it would be disproportionate
  • options to avoid eviction if a tenant falls behind in rent, but can catch up
  • better protections to help prevent homelessness or debts for victims of family violence
  • improvements in relation to how a tenant’s goods left behind at the property should be dealt with.

‘As lawyers helping some of Victoria’s most disadvantaged tenants, we have seen how increased pressure in the rental market has had serious consequences. It has led to uninhabitable properties being rented out and too many unfair evictions into homelessness,’ said Joel Townsend, Manager, Economic and Social Rights program.

We congratulate all those who have worked hard toward making renting safer and fairer in Victoria. These new laws recognise that safe and secure housing is vital for the health and wellbeing of Victorians, and is the foundation of a fairer, more equal community.

‘We hope these reforms and some of our recent cases which establish stronger protections for renters, will see material improvements in the living conditions of marginalised Victorians,’ said Mr Townsend.

More information

For more information and to keep up to date, see the Make Renting Fair website.

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