Uniting welcomes new laws to make renting fairer


September 7, 2018

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At Uniting, we believe that affordable, safe and secure housing is an essential human right.

Today we welcome news of the State Government’s new laws to make renting fairer for all Victorians.

Changes to the Residential Tenancies Act will strengthen renters’ rights and better protect vulnerable tenants.

Under the new laws:

  • Every rental home will need to meet basic standards, with functioning stoves, heating and deadlocks. Landlords will be required to meet basic safety standards for gas, electricity and smoke alarms.
  • Rent increases will be limited to once a year, and bonds capped at four weeks rent.
  • Protections for pet owners will be stronger, with residential rental providers only able to refuse the right of a tenant to have a pet by order of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
  • Rights of entry and photography when a rental property is being sold will be clarified, as will rules to deal with goods left by a renter at the end of a tenancy.
  • To make it quicker for renters to get their bond back, tenants will be able to apply for the release of bond without written consent from their landlord, who will have 14 days to raise a dispute before it is repaid automatically.
  • People will be able to terminate rental agreements in situations of family violence.
  • Those living in caravan and residential parks will have access to compensation if their park closes.

Uniting has been calling on the State Government to provide a better deal for renters to stop unfair rent increases and evictions, and give all renters the security they need.

“People who come to Uniting for support tell us that a lack of affordable and secure housing directly affects their ability to better their circumstances and build a positive future,” Jesse Dean, Public Policy and Advocacy Manager said.

“We are pleased the new tenancy laws adjust the balance of power between renters and owners, increasing security of tenure and preventing ‘rental bidding’ on properties.”

In her address to parliament last night, Member for Western Metropolitan Region, Rachel Carling- Jenkins MP outlined the importance these new laws bring to people living with a disability, which was raised to her by the Uniting team in Wyndham.

Dr Carling-Jenkins highlighted how the reforms to allow minor modifications to rental properties will allow people living with a disability to make their homes safer and better suited to their individual needs.

These modifications could mean the difference between a person continuing to live independently or having to move into assisted care.

To find out more about what we want the State and Federal Governments to do to ensure everyone has access to affordable, safe and secure housing, click here.

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