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More problems, scant solutions with Victoria rental reforms

By Sasha Karen
02 February 2018 | 9 minute read
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Victoria’s recently proposed Residential Tenancies Act 1997 reforms will produce more problems than solutions, according to a council of experts.

The Property Investors Council of Australia (PICA) has claimed that the rental reforms, announced in October 2017, would result in rents being raised, investors going interstate and the removal of many rights of landlords in favour of tenants.

Ben Kingsley, PICA chairman, said that if the reforms go ahead and turn investors away, rents could dramatically increase and put tenants in an even worse situation than before.

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“Landlords make a significant financial investment to help accommodate growing rental demand, especially when the Victorian government… committed fewer funds into social and public housing over the past 10 years,” Mr Kingsley said.

“The very least the government should do is consult with important stakeholders before surprising us with these big changes. We are concerned this has more to do with politics than in addressing any serious problems with the existing Act.

“PICA, on behalf of its members, want a meeting and consultative process first as our landlords have a lot of unanswered questions regarding these proposed changes.”

Of all the 14 proposed reforms, the most concerning changes for landlords, according to Mr Kingsley, are:

  • The change to the timing regarding the ending of a lease, such as the removal of a landlord’s abilities to serve a no specified reason 120-day notice to vacate and an end of fixed-term tenancy 60 or 90 day notice to vacate after the first term.
  • Allowing for tenants to make non-structural changes to rental properties.
  • The capping of bonds, where rent is less than $760 per week, to one month’s rent.
  • The removal of the right to consent or refuse a tenant having a pet.

PICA is also promoting the Real Estate Institute of Victoria’s RentFair is Unfair petition, which is calling for those who disagree with the reforms to sign.

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