New Review of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (Victoria)

Monday 29 June 2015 @ 9.55 a.m. | Legal Research

The Victorian Government has announced a new review of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (VIC) (The Act) in line with their Plan for Fairer Safer Housing. The Act is the main source of consumer protection for Victorians living in rental housing, while also outlining the rights and obligations of landlords and property managers.

Who is involved in the Review?

Consumer Affairs Victoria is leading the review, in collaboration with the departments of:

  • Premier and Cabinet
  • Treasury and Finance
  • Health and Human Services
  • Environment, Land, Water and Planning
  • Justice and Regulation.

What is the Scope of the Review?

he review is broad-based and encompasses wide-ranging themes, such as:

  • security of tenancies and the viability of longer term leasing;
  • protections for people who are older, living with disabilities, and who live in caravan parks and residential parks;
  • issues arising before, during, and at the end of, a tenancy;
  • standards of property maintenance; and
  • the ability of tenants and landlords to manage their relationship and resolve problems that arise.

It is anticipated that these themes will capture issues that come up in the course of public consultation on the paper, Laying the Groundwork, released during the first phase of the review.

There will be three stages to the current review:

  • Stage 1: Consultation Paper (as mentioned above) - June to August 2015;
  • Stage 2: Issues Paper covering security of tenure among other issues - Late 2015 to early 2016; and
  • Stage 3: Options Paper setting out for consideration proposals for reforming the Act - Early to mid 2016

It is proposed to introduce any reforms to the Residential Tenancies Act into the Victorian Parliament in 2017. If passed, these reforms would be implemented in 2018.

What kinds of Issues are Raised in the Consultation Paper?

Questions for consideration in the Consultation Paper include:

  • Whether in the changing housing context, the rental market provides sustainable, secure and safe housing;
  • Whether in the regulatory and policy framework, the Act and its associated regulations are still relevant, and any challenges and barriers are being addressed;
  • In terms of tenants, what effects tenant families, older tenants, tenants renting for longer periods and tenant mobility have on current rental trends; and
  • What could be done to more effectively manage the relationship between landlord and tenant.

Final written submissions are due at the end of August 2015.

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