Liability for services
The list of fees and charges payable by the residential rental provider (RRP) will be updated to reflect contemporary practice across the full range of essential services. While the RRP’s responsibilities will remain largely the same, additional charges prescribed in regulations will include pump out charges for septic tanks, in recognition that not all properties are connected to mains sewerage disposal systems. This reform also applies to rooming houses, caravan parks and residential parks.
A new provision will provide that where a renter has received an excessive utility usage bill attributable to a hidden fault (such as a leaking water pipe), the renter or the RRP can apply to VCAT to determine liability for the excessive usage charges. This reform also applies to rental arrangements in rooming houses, caravan parks and residential parks.
Registered community housing operators will be able to impose a service charge for any water, central heating, laundry or utility services or facilities made available to the renter. At present, this is only available to the Director of Housing. Service charges will be contestable if a renter believes they have been overcharged. Changes to the cost of providing the services or facilities must be disclosed to ensure renters are properly informed of the method of calculating the change. This reform also applies to rooming houses.