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"Rent Fair" Victorian Rental Law Reforms - Modern regulation and processes (Part 1)

Marcel Dybner

Modern regulation and processes

Reform 1. 

The terminology for residential tenancies will be updated as follows:

  • Tenants will be referred to as renters
  • Landlords will be referred to as residential rental providers (RRPs)
  • Rooming house owners will be referred to as rooming house operators

Reform 2. 

The Residential Tenancies Act will include new legislative objectives that reflect its role in the modern regulation of rental accommodation.

Reform 3.

A Commissioner for Residential Tenancies will:

  • champion the rights of Victorian renters, with a focus on renter experiences in the private rental sector
  • help identify systemic issues with the law and practices that could inform future policy, regulatory responses, education programs and resources, and improved dispute resolution services.

Reform 4.

During implementation of the Bill, Consumer Affairs Victoria will review all sources of information for market participants, to ensure they have access to high-quality, effective education tools that help them to understand their rights and obligations.

Reform 5.

Civil pecuniary penalties will be introduced for specific breaches of the Residential Tenancies Act, together with a public warning power for the Minister and Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria, as well as powers specifically tailored to ensure compliance with proposed key obligations (such as minimum standards and the prohibition on soliciting rental bids).

Reform 6. 

The maximum criminal penalties for the majority of existing offences will be increased 2.5 times and applied to a number of contraventions by the RRP and, in limited circumstances, by the renter. This aims to encourage greater compliance with the legislation.

Reform 7.

A new Rental Non-compliance Register for RRPs and agents will be established and maintained by the Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria. This will enable renters to identify those who have previously breached their obligations under the Residential Tenancies Act. A listing for the RRP or the agent will be made if VCAT has made a compliance or compensation order in respect of a breach of duty under the Act, or if the RRP or agent has been convicted of an offence under the Act.

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