Tenants’ rights have been strengthened with the new renting laws which have been passed through Parliment this month.
The Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill 2018, has more than 130 reforms providing increased protection for renters.
What does this mean to you; a current investor; or someone who is looking to buy an investment property in the near future?
Well that really depends on what type of investor you are – if you are currently leasing or planning to lease out your home as you have moved for work etc, and its only something you are planning to rent out for a short period before you move back in or put on the market to sell, then you potentially have the most to lose with the new laws.
If you are a long-term investor and you are treating your investments like a business, then you may be more philosophical with the changes which will be implemented over the next 18 months, although you may be up for some costs to upgrade your properties to meet the “minimum standards”.
Some of the reforms which may affect you include:-
- Landlords must disclose if they are proposing to sell the property before entering into a residential tenancy agreement
- Landlords must disclose known presences of asbestos
- The use of a 120 day notice to vacate for “no specified reason” will be abolished
- Tenants will now be able to make minor modifications to the property without the consent of the landlord – including the painting of walls
- Tenants will be allowed to keep animals in the rented premises
- There will be clearer obligations for landlords to provide and maintain the property in good repair, despite the age and character of the property, and a reduced rent being offset against “good repair” will no longer be acceptable.
Whilst a lot of these reforms will have an impact on investors, there are certainly a number of reforms which are a step in the right direction for looking after tenants and include:-
- A landlords obligation to ensure that the rental property meets the minimum rental standards including basic and yet critical requirements, including functioning toilet; hot and cold water connections in the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry; external windows that have functioning latches; functioning cooktop, oven, sink and food prep area; functioning heating in the main living area; and window coverings to ensure privacy in any room know to be used as a bedroom or main living area. Landlords will be given time to bring their investment properties up to this minimum standard.
Whilst most landlords do the right thing by tenants, those who cut corners or who don’t prioritize compliance will find themselves facing increased financial penalties and other punitive action by Consumer Affairs.
Further information can be found at Fairer Safer Housing – Engage Victoria