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"Rent Fair" Victorian Rental Law Reforms - After a residential rental agreement (Part 10)

Marcel Dybner

After a residential rental agreement

Reform 84.

There will be greater clarity about how a RRP should be compensated when a renter breaks a fixed term lease. This will include:

  • requiring advertising costs and re-letting fees to be calculated on a pro rata basis
  • requiring the pro rata loss to be a percentage of what the RRP actually paid (not what the RRP may now be asked to pay the agent) for securing the renter who is breaking the rental agreement preventing RRPs from claiming for loss of rent where the RRP had served a notice to vacate
  • requiring a RRP claiming for loss of rent to mitigate loss by placing the premises back on the rental market promptly and not unreasonably rejecting proposed new renters.

This reform also applies to fixed term site agreements in residential parks.

Reform 85.

When making a compensation order in the case of a lease break of a residential rental agreement or Part 4A site agreement, VCAT will be required to have regard to the severe hardship the renter or site tenant would have suffered due to an unforeseen change in circumstances, if the agreement had continued. Previously, severe hardship could only be taken into account by VCAT if the residential rental agreement had not yet ended. This reform aims to improve equitable outcomes for vulnerable renters and site tenants by ensuring that all parties suffering severe hardship due to unforeseen circumstances can have that hardship taken into account, even after the agreement has been terminated.

Reform 86. 

The process for storing and disposing of goods left behind by a renter at the end of a residential rental agreement will be simplified, streamlined and modernised.

All goods of monetary value must be stored by the RRP for 14 days, during which time the renter can reclaim them.

If the volume of goods left behind prevents the RRP from reletting the property, the RRP can require the renter to pay an occupation fee (equivalent to the rent) for each day the goods are stored, in order to reclaim the goods.

The renter can apply to VCAT to extend the 14 day storage period if necessary, and the RRP can apply to VCAT to charge a higher occupation fee if necessary.

When the storage period ends, the goods can then be sold or disposed of by the RRP, and the renter can reclaim any proceeds of sale minus the RRP’s costs.

This reform also applies to goods left behind in rooming houses, caravan parks and residential parks.

Reform 87. 

A RRP or database operator must give a copy of personal information about a person listed in a residential tenancy database to that person if requested in writing, and may charge a fee to provide the information. Amendments will allow renters to access one free copy of their residential tenancy database listing per year. This reform also applies to residents of rooming houses and caravan parks, and site tenants in residential parks.

Reform 88.

A renter will be able to apply to VCAT to have a listing on a residential tenancy database amended or removed if VCAT is satisfied that the listing is unjust in the circumstances, with regard to the reason for the listing, the renter’s involvement, and any adverse consequences. This reform also applies to residents in rooming houses, caravan parks and residential parks.

Reform 89. 

VCAT can order the RTBA to provide a renter’s address for the purposes of serving a document on the renter. This reform also applies to residents of rooming houses and caravan parks, and site tenants in residential parks.

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