Victoria renting reforms will be discussed at parliament | Poll

TENANTS could expect to have more freedoms under new renting reforms. 

The state government announced more than 130 reforms that aim to strengthen renters’ rights and protect vulnerable tenants. The bill will be put forward to parliament this week. 

Under the new reforms, renters’ will have the ability to make minor changes to the house without landlord consent and are guaranteed that the property meets basic standards. Tenants will also be given the right to own pets.

The legislation will crack down on rental bidding, limit rent increases to once a year and cap bonds at four weeks rent. 

Family violence survivors will also be able to break rental agreements in situations where domestic abuse is present. 

Harcourts Horsham principal director Mark Clyne said the system was in need for a review, but the amount of changes proposed could create an imbalance in the market. 

“Every system needs a review because there have been changes in terms of how people are renting and living and the demand for smaller properties rather than larger family homes,” he said. 

“But, if the changes are too skewed towards the tenants’ rights that could have a negative impact.” 

Mr Clyne said the state government needed to create a balance when adopting the recommendations. He said an imbalance could lead to less people buying investment properties. 

“The state government need to be mindful that there needs to be a balance between the tenants and landlord’s rights,” he said.

“If the landlords aren’t happy with the new amendments then they just won’t buy property to lease.

“This means rent goes up and availability is lowered and has a direct opposite affect of what they are trying to achieve.” 

Mr Clyne said the tenants’ right to own a pet and make minor changes to the property were debatable reforms. He said landowners should have the right to make decisions about their properties.

“It is always a contentious issue because some pet owners are good. But, landowners should have the right to make that decision … they should be allowed to move back into their house without dog or cat hair in it,” he said. 

“Tenants being able to change wall colours without permission is also debatable.

“There needs to be a compromise. If tenants want to have these rights then perhaps they need to put up a bigger bond. 

“Currently it is at four weeks rent and in some cases that won’t cover the potential changes or damages to the property.” 

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