Some renters miss out on more benefits of the new laws

We told you about some of the new laws that some renters will miss out on, such as minimum standards, which will only apply to people moving into a new property, and safety-related activities that will only apply to people signing a new lease after 1 July 2020.

As well as those things, there are other areas where renters on periodic (e.g. month-to-month) leases will miss out. This includes those in public housing, community housing and private rentals.

Rent increases

One change already in is about rent increases. This came in on 19 June 2019 when the law was changed to say the rent couldn’t be increased more than once a year. But people who have been living in their homes on periodic leases before this date, and who aren’t offered a new lease, can still have their rent increased once every six month.

Payment methods

Another good change is how people can pay their rent. The new laws say landlords must give renters a fee-free way to pay their rent and need to let renters pay by Centrepay and electronic funds transfer. But again, this change won’t apply to renters on existing periodic leases.

Unfair terms

The news laws are also going to stop landlords from including a lot of unfair terms in tenancy agreements. One example is trying to limit a tenants fair use of their home just because it might help landlords get reduced insurance policies. Another example is including terms telling tenants if they breach any of the lease terms they may need to pay unfair financial penalties/costs. The part of the Act that says which terms are invalid will be changed to include all these unfair terms. But just like the changes to rent increases and payment methods, renters on existing periodic leases will not get this benefit.

 

The new laws should apply to all Victorian renters. Renters who are currently on periodic leases, and who are unlikely to sign a new lease should not miss out.

Will you miss out? Do you think it’s unfair? You only have until 5pm Wednesday 18 December 2019 to change this.

 

What you can do

If you think it’s unfair that some renters miss out, write a quick submission to tell the Victorian Government that the new laws should apply to all Victorian renters, not just those who sign a new lease. You can make an anonymous submission if you do not want your personal details published. Please make a note of this in your submission.