What you need to know about Victorian rental reforms: Part II
In Part I of What you need to know about Victorian rental reforms we covered some of the 132 legislative changes that are due to be introduced on March 29 2021; now we’ll take a look at what else you need to know.
Modifications without consent
Tenants will now be able to make minor modifications to the home they are renting without the landlord’s permission. These include, but are not limited to:
Adding picture hooks or screws for wall mounts, shelves or brackets on surfaces other than exposed brick or concrete walls
Installation of wall anchoring devices on surfaces other than exposed brick or concrete walls to secure furniture
Fitting LED light globes that don’t require new light fixtures
Installing a water-efficient showerhead if the original shower head is retained
Adding hardware-mounted or pressure mounted child safety gates on walls other than exposed brick or concrete walls, and adhesive child safety locks on drawers and doors
Installing security lights, alarm systems or security cameras that do not impact the privacy of neighbours, as long as they can be easily removed and are not hardwired to the property
Use of non-permanent window film relating to insulation, reduced heat transfer or privacy
Adding a wireless doorbell and a lock on a letterbox
Installing blind or cord anchors and replacement curtains, as long as the original curtains are retained by the previous renter
Modifications with consent
The painting of the rented premises
The installation of fly screens on doors and windows
The planting of a vegetable or herb garden
The installation of a secure letterbox
Modifications to secure external gates in rentals that are not multi-unit buildings
If consent is given the landlord may request a larger bond to cover the reversal; they may also require the works to be undertaken by a qualified professional. Upon vacating the premises, the tenant is required to return the property to same condition it was when they moved in; fair wear and tear will be taken into consideration. If the tenant fails to do this they will be required to pay the landlord an amount equal to the cost of reversing the modifications.
From March 29 2023, all lighting circuits and power outlets must be connected to a switchboard type circuit breaker that complies with Australian Standards and a switchboard type Residual Current Device (RCD) that complies with AS/NZS3190 or AS/NZS61008.1 OR AS/NZS 61009.1.
Tenants will now be compensated for sales inspections at a rate of one half of the daily amount of rent payable under the rental agreement, or a minimum of $30 per inspection. For example, if their rent was $700 per week, that would be $100 per day, so the amount payable would be $50 per inspection. This is not applicable to bank valuations, building inspections or final inspections.
Compensation for lease break
Where a renter terminates a rental agreement earlier than the required notice period, the tenant will be liable to compensate the landlord for lease breaking. The rental provider can apply to VCAT for an order that the renter pay certain amounts and types of compensation.
Changes to the legislation regarding pets in rentals came into effect on March 2 2020; however, there is still some confusion surrounding the rules. A tenant must use the Consumer Affairs Victoria’s approved form to officially ask the landlord before they keep a pet on the rented property. The landlord cannot unreasonably refuse consent. If they have reason to they must apply to VCAT for permission to refuse within 14 days from receiving the request. If this isn’t done approval is assumed. For comprehensive information about the topic of pets in rental property visit https://www.consumer.vic.gov.au/housing/renting/applying-for-a-rental-property-or-room/pets-and-renting
For more information a summary of all changes can be found at https://www.consumer.vic.gov.au/housing/renting/changes-to-renting-laws.
Consulting your Noel Jones Property Management specialist can also provide you with information and assistance regarding Residential Tenancies Regulation rules and changes, ensuring the transition is a smooth and cost-effective one.