Victorian Residential Tenancies Act reforms
Victorian Residential Tenancies Act reforms are taking place and these changes WILL affect you and the management of your investment property.
As such, we have taken the time to:
- Understand these changes to ensure we meet the new requirements whilst managing your property.
- Create a brief overview below of the changes that we feel will impact you / us the most.
- Provide you with a link to where you can find out more information.
- Explain how we will be adjusting our systems and processes to meet these requirements.
These changes ARE taking place and will be rolled out on the 29th March 2021.
Please take the time to read the following information carefully.
New Smoke Alarm obligations for Rental Providers
Rental providers must ensure that smoke alarms in rental properties are in working conditions and tested regularly.
The rental provider must ensure that each smoke alarm is correctly installed and in working condition (including replacing batteries) and that they are tested according to the manufacturer’s instructions once every 12 months.
The renter must give written notice to the rental provider if they become aware that a smoke alarm is not working.
The rental provider must immediately arrange for a smoke alarm to be repaired or replaced as an urgent repair if they are notified that it is not in working order. Repair or replacement of a hard-wired smoke alarm must be undertaken by a suitably qualified person.
Gas and Electricity Safety Checks
Rental providers who enter into a new agreement on or after 29th March 2021 or have a fixed term agreement of more than five years which rolls over into a periodic tenancy on or after 29th March 2021, must undertake gas and electricity safety checks.
Gas safety check
The rental provider must ensure that a gas safety check of all gas installations and fittings on the premises is conducted every two years by a licensed or registered gasfitter who is endorsed to service Type A gas appliances. If requested, they must also provide the renter with the date of the most recent safety check in writing.
If a gas safety check has not been conducted within the last two years at the time the renter occupies the premises, the rental provider must arrange a gas safety check as soon as practicable. We will be required to issue safety compliance certificates to the renter.
Electrical safety check
Rental providers must ensure that an electrical safety check of all electrical installations and fittings in the premises (in accordance with section 4 of AS/NZS 3019 "Electrical installations—Periodic verification") is conducted every two years by a licensed electrician that is employed by a Registered Electrical Contractor or a Registered Electrical Contractor. If requested, they must also provide the renter with the date of the most recent safety check, in writing.
If an electrical safety check has not been conducted within the last two years at the time the renter occupies the premises, the residential rental provider must arrange an electrical safety check as soon as practicable.
If the safety check shows that electrical repairs are needed to make the property safe, a rental provider should hire a Registered Electrical Contractor to do the repair work.
Rental Minimum Standards
The minimum standards cover basic but important requirements relating to amenity, safety and privacy, and rental providers owe a duty to ensure their property meets these standards. These minimum standards apply only to rental agreements signed on or after 29th March 2021.
There are 14 categories:
- Door locks
- Vermin Proof bins
- Bathroom facilities
- Kitchen facilities
- Laundry facilities
- Structural soundness
- Mould and dampness
- Electrical safety
- Window Coverings
If a rental property does not have the minimum standards Renters are able to request urgent repair to make rental property meet the standard.
Please follow link for further information on minimum standards: https://www.consumer.vic.gov.au/housing/renting/changes-to-renting-laws/resources-for-practitioners/fact-sheet-26-rental-minimum-standards#
The monetary limit on what renters can expend on urgent repairs will be $2500.00. If tenant arranges urgent maintenance directly a rental provider must pay renters back within 7 days.
Renters can Initiate a bond claim
A renter may apply to the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority (RTBA) to have all or part of the bond released.
However, the new process will take at least 14 days and generally faster way to get a bond refund is a joint claim by renter and rental provider.
When you provide the required condition reports to renters, you must use the prescribed condition report. We will ensure we use the correct condition report.
New Advertising Requirements
Rental properties can only be advertised with a fixed price.
New requirements for rental applications
There are several changes to the rental application process. We must provide a disclosure statement about discrimination to all applicants.
In addition, there are certain questions you are banned from asking during the process. These questions can be found by following this link:
Changes to notices to vacate
There are changes to certain types of Notices to Vacate that can be issued from 29 March 2021. Notices to Vacate for “no reason” can no longer be issued, the process for Notices to Vacate for late payment of rent have changed and there are new guidelines that may assist rental providers in deciding whether to give a new Notice to Vacate for endangerment.
Where can you find out more?
What PRD Albury will be doing to ensure compliance moving forward:
Our office will be engaging the services of a smoke alarm servicing professional to annually meet the new requirements as noted above. The associated costs will be invoiced from your account as necessary.
Gas and Electrical Safety
We have engaged a gas plumber and electrician who have created a package to complete the requirements on your behalf.
PRD is committed to ensuring compliance for you, your tenants and our firm and we appreciate that these reforms will affect the way in which your property is effectively managed by our team.
We understand that we have provided you with significant information both above and via the link, so should you have any queries after reviewing each of these areas, we do welcome your contact with our office on 0260 210 442.