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New Victorian rental standards to commence from March

By Kyle Robbins
23 January 2023 | 9 minute read
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By the end of March, all rental properties in the state must comply with new electrical safety standards. 

Under the government-led changes, rental providers must ensure properties have “modern style switchboards, with circuit breakers and electrical safety switches installed”. 

The new standard will apply from 29 March 2023 and encompasses rental agreements that:

  • Started after 29 March 2021, or
  • Started before 29 March 2021 and rolled over into a periodic agreement on or after 29 March 2021

According to a statement released by the Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV), “rolling over to a periodic agreement is considered starting a new agreement, even if occupancy began before 29 March 2021”.

Moreover, “rental providers must ensure that the switchboard of the rental property is compliant with the standard at the time a renter moves in”.

In order to meet the updated standards, a licensed or registered electrician must be employed to check a property is compliant or provide any necessary upgrades, with a safety compliance certificate also needed to be issued by the electrician to provide confirmation that any completed work has been conducted in accordance with relevant safety laws. 

Further clarity was provided by the institute around the latest rental agreement terms, highlighting that where a new rental agreement is entered into after 29 March 2021 but before 29 March 2023, the rental provider has until 29 March 2023 to meet the standard. That holds true even if a renter moves in before this date.

The date of 29 March 2021 holds significance as it was the date over 130 rental standard reforms came into effect throughout Victoria, including ones on rental to electrical safety. These amendments haven’t been widely celebrated, with one Melbourne agent claiming they heavily influenced the state’s current rental crisis, which resulted in the Victorian capital’s vacancy rate concluding 2022 at 1.1 per cent despite median rents remaining the most affordable in Australia at $507. 

Additionally, the REIV has advised tenants can request an urgent repair to their electrical services past 29 March 2023 to enforce compliance with the updated standards.

Furthermore, for any rental agreements entered on or after 29 March 2023, the rental provider must ensure the property meets the standards prior to the tenancy commencing.

Energy Safe Victoria has also advised electrical workers conducting the upgrades to ensure switchboards are not energised before the work is inspected by a licensed electrical inspector.

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