Exactly one year after sweeping reforms brought in over 130 alterations to Victoria’s rental laws, the state has reported on the success of its efforts.
The new pet-request form has been downloaded almost 70,000 times from Consumer Affairs Victoria’s website since the laws were amended to specify that rental providers cannot unreasonably refuse consent for a tenant to keep a pet.
More than 12,000 bond claims have also been initiated by renters via the state’s Residential Tenancies Bond Authority (RTBA).
Since the new laws came into effect, renters have been able to make a claim to the RTBA for the return of their bond without the rental provider’s agreement. Once this occurs, the RTBA alerts the rental provider and other co-renters to the renter’s claim, giving them 14 days to dispute it.
At least half of the 12,000 claims made by tenants were paid out directly from the RTBA, the state reported.
The Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation Melissa Horne also reported that measures allowing renters to make minor amendments to their rental properties without the permission of their landlord – such as repainting walls, hanging picture hooks, securing furniture to walls and installing shelving – have allowed renters to feel more at home in their properties.
“Renters deserve to feel like their house is their home – in the past year these important reforms have made that even more possible for the millions of Victorians who are living in a rental property,” Ms Horne said.
She added that a year on from implementation, “these changes have strengthened renters’ rights and better protected vulnerable renters, while also clarifying responsibilities and improving many of the outdated processes involved in the rental process for both tenants and landlords”.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Based in Sydney, Juliet Helmke has a broad range of reporting and editorial experience across the areas of business, technology, entertainment and the arts. She was formerly Senior Editor at The New York Observer.