For much of this year Victorian renters have been fighting to improve the state’s rental laws. These include being able to make small modifications to a property (aka, hang a picture) and get a pet without your landlord’s permission. But while those topics have got the most press attention, the wider push would protect the rights of renters, protect vulnerable tenants, and control unfair rental hikes. The reforms would stamp out practices like bidding for rentals and cap bonds at four weeks rent. There were also allowances around tenancy agreements being terminated in cases related to family violence.
Last night the reforms passed the upper house with no amendments, following hours of debates. While the changes are going to make life a hell of a lot easier for the quarter of the state who rent, there isn’t much clarity on when the changes will come into effect.
But while it’s great news for those of us who don’t see home ownership in our near future, the changes have drawn criticism from landlords. Speaking to 3AW, president of the Real Estate Institute of Victoria Richmond Simpson said we could actually see a jump in rent prices with the possibility that “quite a few landlords pull their properties off the rental market.” There is also still a chance that the coalition could repeal the bill if they take out the state election in November.
But for now, Tenants Victoria chief executive Mark O’Brien is feeling pretty good, commenting “It’s an important day for renters to celebrate.”
Did someone say, dog party?