law changes: when do the changes start?

    The Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2018 was passed by Victoria’s Parliament in early September 2018.

    Some of the changes in this Act came into effect in as early as April 2019, but others, depending on how complex they are and what else needs to be done beforehand, may not come into effect until 1 January 2021.

    Find out: what’s changed so far? [this page]  |  Also see: what will change? [new page]

     

    new regulations

    Many of the changes will need regulations to be written for extra details about the changes and how they will work. For example: The Act says that landlords must comply with minimum property standards, but it doesn’t specify what these standards are. That’s where the regulations come in.

    Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) will be responsible for developing the draft regulations. CAV will consult widely as they develop the regulations, which will help to ensure that the draft regulations cover everything they should and are relevant and practical.

    The regulations will be created through a public consultation process prior to the remainder of the changes coming into effect. CAV will publish the draft regulations with a Regulatory Impact Statement on Engage Victoria so that members of the public can comment on the regulations before they become law. The new regulations will be made after CAV have considered the feedback about the regulations.

    We will work with CAV to identify appropriate regulations as required and encourage a reasonable time frame for establishment.

    so how does the regulations process work anyway?

    In Victoria, there are formal steps and public consultation that must occur before new regulations can become law.

    Once the draft regulations are ready, CAV will prepare and publish the draft regulations along with a Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) that assesses the economic impact and policy benefit of the regulations for public consultation. Before this is published, the RIS must be approved by the Office of the Commission for Better Regulation.

    The minimum public consultation period for regulations is 28 days. However, some of these changes are novel or rarely seen in tenancy legislation so a longer consultation period may be required.

    After CAV has considered feedback, the Minister for Consumer Affairs must approve the regulations, before they are signed off by the Governor.

    It is important to note that if regulations are complex, they may not begin immediately but can be commenced on a later date. Some regulations will also likely be staged over several years. For example, landlords may be required to meet some minimum property standards by a certain date, then additional standards by a later date.

    what’s changed so far?

    pets

    From Monday 2 March 2020, the laws about keeping pets in rental homes changed. Read about the new laws on keeping pets.

    long term leases

    From 3 April 2019 a standard long form lease became usable for residential tenancies in Victoria. See Tenants Victoria long term leases news page for more information.

    rooming house register

    Consumer Affairs Victoria maintains public registers of registered rooming houses and rooming house operators.

    From 3 April 2019 a rooming house operator can ask Consumer Affairs Victoria to restrict public access to a rooming house’s address in exceptional circumstances, such as the property being operated to delivery family violence services.

    caravan park closures

    From 3 April 2019, caravan and residential park owners who are closing a park must establish a compensation scheme for eligible caravan park residents or site tenants who have been given notice to vacate for the park’s closure. For more information see Consumer Affairs Victoria website.

    rent increases

    If you entered into a new fixed-term or periodic tenancy agreement on or after 19 June 2019, landlords and real estate agents cannot raise the rent more than once every 12 months, instead of once every 6 months.

    However, if you have a fixed-term agreement that was entered into before 19 June 2019, or a periodic tenancy commencing before 19 June 2019 the time frame for rent increases remains no more than once every 6 months.

    For more information on rent increases, view Tenants Victoria rent increases page.

    renting a home: a guide for tenants

    Prior to 19 June 2019 Landlords were required to give tenants a printed copy of Consumer Affairs Victoria’s “Renting a Home: a guide for tenants”.

    As of 19 June 2019 this publication may now be given either as a printed copy OR in electronic form, if the tenant has agreed in writing to receive notices and other documents and correspondence electronically.

    specialist disability accommodation

    As of 1 July 2019 Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) comes under the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (RTA). A new part of the RTA has been created to regulate SDAs. Some of the sections in this new part mirror the sections for residential tenancies, but others differ significantly. It is advisable that anyone dealing with an SDA seek legal advice.

     

     

    Read more about some of the keys changes

     

    Tenants Victoria acknowledges the support of the Victorian Government.