Lifestyle

An easier life for renters

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November 09, 2017

REAL estate agents across the twin towns agree proposed sweeping changes to tenancy have the potential to make life easier for renters.

REAL estate agents across the twin towns agree proposed sweeping changes to tenancy have the potential to make life easier for renters.

The Victorian Government’s rental fairness package aims to give tenants more rights, helps them stay on longer leases, makes bonds smaller and fairer and make it easier for tenants to have pets.

LJ Hooker Echuca and Moama principal property manager Allison Minter said the reforms have the potential to benefit tenants.

But cautioned they still needed to be managed correctly.

“The reforms are still quite broad so we will have to wait to see what the specifics are,” she said.

“Pets are fantastic for tenants, but having a pet inside a property can result in a lot of negativity when the tenant leaves.

“It’s the same story for tenants making minor modifications. It’s a good idea, but not all tenants are handy with a hammer and nail.

“It would be more sensible to talk to an agent before making modifications.”

Ms Minter also said the ‘no specified reason’ notice to vacate should not be removed and believed its abolition would negatively affect landlords.

“Landlords should not have to provide a reason. It goes against their right to privacy – they shouldn’t have to divulge why they want the tenant to vacate,” she said.

First National Real Estate director Gary Wood said he believed the reforms would be beneficial to tenants.

“Removing the no specified reason notice to vacate will put renters in a better position,” he said.

“If I was a landlord I wouldn’t want pets in my house but allowing pets will make it easier for tenants to apply for more properties.

“I don’t think the changes will make life harder for landlords.”

Renters will get better long-term security by abolishing ‘no specified reason’ notices to vacate, and new restrictions will be placed on ending a lease without a reason when it has lasted more than one fixed term.

To end discrimination against renters with pets, the government will give every tenant the right to own a pet, and while landlords will still need to provide consent, they will only be able refuse in certain circumstances.

It will be easier for tenants to make minor modifications to the rental property and there will be faster reimbursements for tenants who pay for urgent repairs.

Bonds will be capped at one month’s rent where the rent is twice the current median weekly rent – currently equivalent to $760 per week or less. This will also apply to rent paid in advance.

Under the reform, tenants will be able to apply for the release of bond without written consent from their landlord, who will have 14 days to raise a dispute before the bond is repaid automatically.

There will also be a crackdown on dodgy landlords with the introduction of a landlord and estate agent blacklist available to renters.

Visit rentfair.vic.gov.au for more information or to have your say about the rental fairness package.

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