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New Rental Standards and What It Means for Tenants & Landlords

Applying for a place to stay can be daunting especially when rental fees just seem to get even more expensive as days go by. Issues are surrounding the fairness of the rental market, and why it's reached a point wherein a certain fraction of the society can't even afford renting anymore. Homelessness has become such a huge problem in so many affluent countries all over the world, including Australia. While efforts were initiated last year to help rough sleepers a safer and more comfortable space, consistency is key. Steps towards making a fairer rent for Victorians is necessary.

So what are the new rules for tenants?

The Andrews Labor Government has recently announced new rules to ensure every rental property will meet basic standards. According to data gathered, 1 in 4 Australians is renting in Victoria and basic amenities must be available to renters. Such amenities include hot and cold water, ovens, kitchen sinks, a heater, etc. tenants must have these access to these for a rental house to be considered able to meet standards. Anyone would think that all houses, specifically rental properties will automatically meet these standards but you'd be surprised that others do not have these amenities.

The Andrews Labor government seeks to strengthen the standards with new regulations. One of the ways that make it different has to do with installing child safety devices. In any rental home, a set of regulations must be adhered to. While other renters automatically allow renters to attach one, some do not and would probably take some convincing to do. With the government's regulations, renters won't have to ask for permission anymore. Such devices include blind or cord anchors –mounted child safety gates. Other matters such as installing hooks, curtain rods, and changing into LED bulbs are also part of the new provision.

Planting vegetables and herb garden, under the new provision, should be automatically allowed and the rental provider has no reason to refuse. Installing security systems, plus securing gates should be allowed as well. These new regulations came about as a result of about 700 written submissions as part of the consultation process on the initial proposed regulations.

What does this mean for landlords?

Although these reforms were mainly for a fairer rental experience for tenants, landlords will benefit from these because renters will have stronger accountability, clearer obligations, and modern regulation/processes. This way, tenants will be reminded that they must be more responsible with their decisions and actions as tenants. They are given more freedom to have a comfortable space, but in return, they must understand their limitations.

The Residential Tenancies Regulations 2021 will be formally made on the 2nd of January and can be found here starting on the said date.

Renting in Victoria will have its biggest reforms to date. The minimum standards indicated must be provided in all rental properties to protect tenants, most especially the vulnerable ones and be able to experience having their rental home feel like it's their own.

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