The Andrews Government has just announced its plan to give tenants more rights and longer term security under proposed reforms to the Residential Tenancies Act – but do they go far enough?
Low income renters will benefit from the move to limit rent increases to once a year and the reforms will make bonds smaller and fairer. The “no reason” evictions will be outlawed and tenants will find it easier to keep pets. Landlords will also be required to inform prospective tenants if they intend to sell the property before the lease is signed. It will also be easier and faster for renters to get their bond back and rental bidding will be banned. A Commissioner for Residential Tenancies will be established to advocate on behalf of tenants.
However, there was no mention of minimum health, safety and efficiency standards – a major concern for older Victorians. There is strong evidence of landlords not allowing modifications to homes to support the changing mobility situations of older people. There is also the financial impact on having to remove all modifications when a lease is terminated. There are increasing numbers of older Victorians facing an unaffordable private rental market that is not age friendly. COTA Victoria is urging the government to introduce minimum rental standards that protect the health and wellbeing of tenants.
The legislation is expected to be introduced in 2018. Read COTA Victoria’s submission to the review of Residential Tenancies Act.