Changes to the Residential Tenancy Act (RTA) in Victoria have been under way for almost two years. And despite Consumer Affairs Victoria stating that it intends to gain input from all stakeholders, the government has made its intentions clear about how the RTA will be modified.
Of particular concern to landlords are the proposed changes that benefit tenants to the detriment of property-owning landlords.
Leases of up to five years or longer
Announced on 2 March by the Andrews Labor government, a new long-term standard tenancy agreement will be developed for leases. “The Government will … amend the Residential Tenancies Act to ensure it covers leases for longer than 5 years,” said the official statement on Premier Andrews’ website.
The Andrews Labor government said the changes would mean greater security for both tenants and landlords, ensuring greater stability for renting families and a more reliable source of income for property owners.
“Raising a family is stressful enough without worrying about whether you need to move every 12 months. Long-term leases will end that uncertainty,” said Andrews. “There are 884,000 Victorians who rent, or own a rental property. This change will give renters the chance to put down roots.”
Some landlords do not welcome the amendment, as they may have other plans for their properties that do not involve long-term tenants.
Evictions need to go through VCAT
Another proposed change could see landlords unable to remove tenants from the property without first submitting their concerns to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).
Under the current law, if tenants do not pay the rent, landlords can issue a notice to vacate. If the new amendments are enforced, landlords would first have to apply to the VCAT for a Termination Order, which would cost them both time and money.
Reforms should protect all parties
While organisations like Viclandlords.org say they are fully supportive of changes that ensure tenants get a fair deal and are protected against dodgy landlords, protections that safeguard landlords also need to be enforced as over 75% of them are just ordinary Aussies who purchase a minimum of one property to provide additional income for their retirement.