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Residential Tenancies Act – A summary on proposed changes

The Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) in Victoria has been under review since 2015, with amendments to the Act being passed in October 2018.

There are over 138 amendments to the Act, the largest change since its inception. The date for introduction is during 2020 but popular opinion is some changes will be introduced during 2019.

Over the next few months, I will update you on some of the key changes and what they mean to you as an investment property owner.

In Victoria, there has been a handful of the amendments heavily publicised by the government, as part of their re-election campaign. Having now had access to the amended version of the Act (405 pages!), it seems much of the hype is only ‘partly true’.

A summary of my initial observations are:

  • The level of required compliance for investment property owners is increasing
  • There is a very clear trend for Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to be involved in both decisions and disputes, increasing their traditional role from dispute resolution
  • Most amendments are tenant focused, but not all of them. Some amendments are balanced and some are to the benefit of property owners.
  • Several amendments are not without precedent and are bringing the legislation into line with decisions already being made.

One of the changes is we will all need to adjust to our new titles:

  • Landlords will now be known as a Residential Rental Provider (RRP?)
  • Tenants will now be known as Renters
  • A Lease Agreement will now be called a Residential Rental Agreement
  • Property Managers will now be known as Agents

Consumer Affairs Victoria have a lot of detail to provide yet and have promised to release information on:

  • How VCAT will be upgraded and overhauled to manage the increase in demand
  • A determination on the definition of ‘reasonably clean’ and ‘wear and tear’

….We are keenly awaiting….!

In the meantime, one action we suggest you undertake now is to ensure your Landlord Insurance is bullet-proof. Our recommendation is to have coverage with a dedicated Landlord Insurance provider.

If you want to talk about any of the proposed changes or have specific questions on how these changes may impact your investment property, we are happy to discuss.

In the next instalment we will be talking about the introduction of legislation regarding pets. 

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