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What changes can renters expect with the Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2018?

The Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill 2018 was passed by Victoria’s Parliament in early September 2018.

Make Renting Fair is pleased with the balanced and measured changes and additions to current tenancy legislation included in this comprehensive Bill.  We believe it will provide greater safety, stability and privacy for over 1.5 million Victorian renters and counting.

Click here to find out what’s in store for private renters when this Bill becomes law!

When will these changes take effect?

We have spent a lot of time going through the new Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2018, Hansard, media and other resources to find a concrete answer to this question.  While the answer is complicated, it isn’t bad news:

Some changes will take effect over the coming months depending on how complete the changes are or what else needs to be done beforehand.  As soon as this information is made available by Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV), we will be sure to give you an update on what to expect.

Additionally, many of the changes will require regulations to be developed because the specifics are not included in the Act itself.  For example: The Act says that landlords must comply with minimum property standards, but it doesn’t specify what these standards are.  That’s where the regulations come in.

CAV will be responsible for developing the draft regulations.  We expect that they will consult widely as the develop the regulations.  There are a number of areas of the regulations that are technically complex and will require both expert input as well as general stakeholder feedback.  This process of consultation will help to ensure that the draft regulations cover everything they should and are relevant and practical.  These regulations will be created through a public consultation process over the coming months – likely starting early next year.

So the short answer: Some changes may take effect relatively soon, and some may take time.  Regardless, the latest possible date for these changes to take effect is by 1 July 2020.  We will work with CAV to identify appropriate regulations as required and encourage a reasonable time frame for establishment.

So how does the regulations process work anyway?

In Victoria, there are formal steps and public consultation that must occur before new regulations can become law.

Once the draft regulations are ready, CAV will prepare and publish the draft regulations along with a Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) that assesses the economic impact and policy benefit of the regulations for public consultation.  Before this is published, the RIS must be approved by the Office of the Commission for Better Regulation.

The minimum public consultation period for regulations is 28 days.  However, several of these changes are novel or rarely seen in tenancy legislation so a longer consultation period may be required.

After CAV has considered feedback, the Minister for Consumer Affairs must approve the regulations. The regulations are then reviewed by the Parliament Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee to ensure they are within the powers granted by the Act and don’t infringe the Human Rights Charter, before being signed off by the Governor.

It is important to note that if regulations are complex, they may not begin immediately but can be commenced on a later date.  Some regulations will also likely be staged over several years.  For example, landlords may be required to meet some minimum property standards by a certain date, then additional standards by a later date.

How will I be able to help?

As mentioned above, you will have an opportunity to provide your feedback directly to CAV once the draft regulations have been released for public consultation.  This process will likely commence in early 2019.  We will be sure to let you know when this happens so you can have your say.

In the meantime, Make Renting Fair is developing a survey for renters and landlords alike to identify what should be included in key regulations such as minimum property standards and minor modifications.  We will use the results from this survey to help guide our lobbying efforts throughout the consultation process.

Click here to find out what’s in store for private renters when this Act becomes law!

Watch this space for a link to the survey!  And feel free to contact us on should you have any questions or concerns.