New Rent Rules: The Fast Facts
What is changing?
New renting rules come into effect on 29 March 2021, to create a fairer, safer system for everyone.
More than 130 reforms are being introduced. You can find the full list and more information at consumer.vic.gov.au/rentrules
These changes put minimum standards for rental properties into law. Things like hot and cold water, working ovens, stovetops and sinks and a permanent, working heater.
Why and how will Victorians benefit from these changes?
More than one in four people rent in Victoria. Renters will be able to make simple modifications without seeking permission, so they can have a rental property that feels like a home.
Renters will not be able to be evicted without a valid reason, including a sale, change of use, or if the owner is moving back in.
Rental providers will benefit from changes that clarify what renters are accountable for and that all updated obligations are easier to understand to support quicker action if there is a problem. This will give rental providers a more transparent relationship with renters and greater confidence their rental property will be maintained.
Rental providers have ample time to ensure properties comply with these regulations.
The Victorian Government is working with renters and rental providers to ensure a smooth transition to the new rules.
Notable reforms include:
- Renters can no longer be evicted for no reason - a valid reason is required, including: a sale, change of use, or if the owner is moving back in.
- An expanded definition of urgent repairs, which includes serious faults that impact on safety and use of the property.
- Rent can only be increased once a year.
- New minimum standards ensure that rental properties meet basic standards of cleanliness, security and privacy. These are the things most people would reasonably expect in a rental property - and most already have them. These apply in all new rental agreements after 29 March 2021.
- Renters can make simple modifications without seeking permission, such as attaching child safety devices or replacing curtains.
- Allowing other modifications that a rental provider cannot unreasonably refuse, including allowing the planting of a vegetable or herb garden, painting, securing gates and installing security systems and flyscreens at the renter's own cost.
- Rentals can now only be offered at a fixed price. Rental providers and agents cannot invite rental bids for higher rent.
- Rental providers and agents cannot make false or misleading representations to encourage someone to sign a rental agreement.
- It is unlawful to discriminate against renters based on their personal attributes, such as age, race, religion or disability.
- Rental providers cannot ask for or accept more than one month’s rent as a bond, or require renters to pay more than one month’s rent in advance, for properties with a rent of $900 per week or less.
- Pets cannot be unreasonably refused, although renters must still ask for permission.
- A renter can be evicted if they are violent or threatening towards a rental provider, agent or neighbour.
- Renters experiencing family violence will be able to change or terminate their rental agreement and not be held liable for damages in some circumstances.
- Rental providers are responsible for conducting gas and electricity checks every two years.
- A staged requirement for rented properties to have energy efficient heater so renters can stay warm without worrying about their electricity bills.
- Introducing new standard rental agreements, conditions reports and forms, which rental providers should ensure they are using from 29 March.
Comments attributable to Nicole Rich, Director Consumer Affairs Victoria
“These new rules are about creating a fairer, safer system for all.”
“The biggest reforms to renting in Victoria’s history come into effect on 29 March 2021, so it’s time for rental providers to prepare so that every rental property complies.”
“These new rules ensure that a lot of things that most people already expect from a rental property become law by introducing rental minimum standards. Renters and rental providers will have clearer rules and greater accountability so that every renter and every rental is looked after.”
“Renters will be able to make simple modifications, enabling them to make their house a home. Rental providers also benefit from clearer accountabilities for renters, clearer obligations, and modern regulations and processes. We’re working with both parties to ensure a smooth, gradual transition to a fairer system.”