The Government’s recently announced reforms of the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) – including a ban on 120 day ‘no specified reason’ evictions – is a great start to making renting safe and stable for Victorian renters, says Tenants Victoria.
CEO Mark O’Brien is happy that the message in favour of renters’ rights has been acknowledged. “We are very proud that support of the Make Renting Fair campaign over the past nine months has driven the Victorian Government in the right direction,” he says.
“We welcome many of these changes, particularly restrictions on ‘no specified reason’ eviction notices,” says O’Brien. “It is virtually impossible for tenants to feel secure in their homes when they can be evicted without proper reason. This is a coup for the over 1.5 million Victorians who rent their homes.”
O’Brien also expressed his support for legislating protections for tenants against false, misleading and deceptive conduct, and requiring landlord to provide full disclosure of issues that might affect a tenancy. “We support measures that make it easier for tenants to rescind their contract when remaining in it may pose a health, security or financial risk to them.”
The acceptance of pets in rental properties is also another positive step, with O’Brien expressing pleasure that there will be no unreasonable demands or financial requirements to frustrate tenants from having pets.
Premier Daniel Andrews announced a number of changes to the RTA this morning that would make renting fairer for all Victorians, including allowing tenants to undertake minor modifications without the landlord’s permission such as hanging picture hooks on walls, the development of a landlord and agent ‘blacklist’, and the establishment of a Commission for Residential Tenancies.
While O’Brien is encouraged by these reforms, he also cautions that more work needs to be done in order to restore the balance between landlords and tenants and make renting safe, secure and private.
“The abolition of the no-reason notices to vacate is a great step forward, but the Government also needs to make sure it isn’t easier to evict a tenant for other reasons.
“Tenants Victoria and the Make Renting Fair campaign look forward to hearing the Victorian Government’s response to other key recommendations that would better protect Victorian renters – including the legislation of minimum property standards, and rejecting the proposed enforcement of onerous and unfair lease terms.”