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Victorian government reviews the Residential Tenancies Act

By Jamil Allouche

As part of its Fairer, Safer Housing initiative, the Victorian government is reviewing the 1997 Residential Tenancies Act. This is an effort to ensure the rights of both landlords and tenants – and to more clearly outline their responsibilities. 

The review is due to be completed in 2018 and has thus far consisted of a consultation paper, six issues papers and public consultation. A public options paper entitled Heading For Home was released in January 2017. 

What is this review of the Residential Tenancies Act all about? And what will it mean for you as a landlord or tenant in Victoria? Let's find out. 

Why is a review of the Residential Tenancies Act needed?

1997's Residential Tenancies Act was brought about in order to protect those living in rental housing in Victoria, and also outlines the rights and obligations of tenants and landlords in the state.

The review of the Act that is currently being carried out is designed to account for changes in the rental housing market. Since the Act was introduced, increasing numbers of Australians have been renting – and they've been doing so on a long-term basis.

Released in January 2017, the options paper seeks to addresses these changing circumstances. Homelessness and evictions are high on its priority list, as the state government seeks to enforce fair practices. 

What has the review produced so far?

Six issues papers during 2015 and 2016 were released for public consultation. The Victorian government received 1,980 contributions and 232 written submissions in response. These contributions were combined with market research to determine the main issues faced by stakeholders throughout Victoria.

The public options paper released in January outlines various possible solutions to issues such as the rights and obligations of tenants and landlords during and after tenancy, regulation of bonds and rent, the condition of property and dispute resolution. 

What impact will the review have?

The options presented by the recent paper aren't set in stone and may not necessarily be adopted by the Victorian government, but they certainly open up a window for making sure that renters and property owners will have their rights protected and their issues addressed.

In light of this review, conditions for tenants and landlords are only likely to improve in the coming years. It's never been a better time to rent – or to lease out your property. And where better to do this than in Victoria's lively capital, Melbourne? Talk to the experts at Ray White Brunswick to discuss your options.

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