Safety check required by landlord
- Compulsory gas safety activities
The residential rental provider must ensure that a gas safety check of all gas installations and fittings in the rented premises is conducted every 2 years by a licensed or registered gasfitter and must provide the renter with the date of the most recent safety check, in writing, on request by the renter.
- Compulsory electrical safety activities
The residential rental provider must ensure that an electrical safety check of all electrical installations, appliances and fittings provided by a residential rental provider in the rented premises is conducted every 2 years by a licensed or registered electrician and must provide the renter with the date of the most recent safety check, in writing, on request by the renter.
- Compulsory smoke alarm safety activities
The residential rental provider must ensure that:
- Each smoke alarm is correctly installed and in working condition
- Each smoke alarm is tested according to the manufacturer’s instructions at least once every 12 months
- The batteries in each smoke alarm are replaced as required
Urgent repair guidelines
The monetary limit on what renters can expend on urgent repairs will be $2,500 from 29 March 2021. Rental providers (landlords) must pay renters back for urgent repairs within seven days of them claiming the cost of repairs.
Modification to property
- Renters can make simple modifications without seeking permission, such as:
- picture hooks or screws for wall mounts, shelves or brackets on surfaces other than brick walls,
- wall anchoring devices on surfaces other than brick walls to secure items of furniture,
- LED light globes which do not require new light fittings,
- low flow shower heads if the original shower head is kept,
- blind or cord anchors,
- hardware mounted child safety gates on walls other than brick walls,
- security lights, alarm systems or security cameras that do not impact on the privacy of neighbours, can easily be removed from the rented premises, and are not hardwired to the rented premises.
- For all other modifications, the renter must get the rental provider’s permission before starting the work.
- Before the end of the rental agreement, the renter must reverse the modifications (fair wear or tear excepted) or pay the rental provider for the cost of reversing them, unless both parties have agreed otherwise.
Rental minimum standards
- Doors – all external entry doors must be secured with a locking device that is operated by a key from the outside and can be locked from the inside with or without a key if it is not able to be secured with a functioning deadlock
- Ventilation – Rented premises must be ventilated in accordance to the Building Code of Australia
- Vermin proof bins – Rented premises must include vermin proof bins which will be supplied by local council and complies with the council regulations
- Toilet – Rented premises must contain toilet in working order and are connected to appropriate waste system
- Bathroom – contain hot and cold water supply, washbasin, shower/bath, showerheads with a minimum of 3 stars rating
- Kitchen – contain reasonable food preparation area, sink with hot and cold water, oven (if applicable) and stovetop in good working order
- Laundry facilities – connected to reasonable amount of hot and cold water
- Structural soundness – must be structurally sound and weatherproof
- Mould and dampness – rented premise must be mould and damp free
- Electrical safety – rented premise must have installed electrical safety switches
- Windows coverings – all windows in bedroom and living area must have covered which allows the blocking of light and provide privacy
- Windows – windows in rented premise must be able to be opened and secured
- Lighting – rented premise must have appropriate access to either natural or artificial light
- Heating – rented premise must contain a fixed heater in the main living area. For premises that have not installed a heater, an energy efficient heater (minimum 2 stars) must be installed
For properties with a rent of $900 per week or less, rental providers cannot ask for or accept more than one month’s rent as a bond.
Before entering a residential rental, rooming house or site agreement, the renter, rooming house resident or caravan/residential park resident must be informed of whether:
- an agent has been engaged to sell the property or, if a contract of sale has been prepared, that there is an ongoing proposal to sell the property,
- there is action underway to enforce a mortgage over the property which means the mortgagee is acting for possession of the property,
- the rental provider is not the owner of the property, and what rights they have in letting the property
- the electricity is supplied to the property from an embedded electricity network, and the details of this network
- the premises or common property is known by the rental provider to have been the location of a homicide in the last 5 years
- the premises comply with the rental minimum standards
- the rental provider has received a repair notice in the last 3 years that is related to mould or damp in the premises which is caused by or related to the building structure (this requirement starts on 31 December 2021)
- the date of the most recent gas safety check, electrical safety check, and pool barrier safety check (if relevant)
- there are any outstanding recommendations to be completed from a gas or electrical safety check
- the premises is registered under the Heritage Act 2017
- the premises is known by the rental provider to:
- be contaminated because the premises has been used for trafficking or cultivation of a drug of dependence in the last 5 years
- have friable or non-friable asbestos based on an inspection by a suitably qualified person
- be affected by a building or planning application
- the premises or common property is known to be the subject of any notice, order declaration, report or recommendation issued by a relevant building surveyor, municipal building surveyor, public authority or government department relating to any building defects or safety concerns for the property,
- there is a current domestic building work dispute under the Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995 which applies to or affects the premises,
- there is a current dispute under Part 10 of the Owners Corporations Act 2006 (any internal dispute, for example between lot owners, occupants and/or the manager) which applies to or affects the premises,
- there are any owners corporation rules applicable to the premises – and if so, the renter must receive a copy of them.
Pets cannot be unreasonably refused, although renters must still ask for permission
Standard rental agreement
- Introducing new standard rental agreements, conditions reports and forms, which rental providers should ensure they are using from 29 March.
- New minimum standards ensure that rental properties meet basic standards of cleanliness, security and privacy. These are the things most people would reasonably expect in a rental property – and most already have them. These apply in all new rental agreements after 29 March 2021.
Renters will not be able to be evicted without a valid reason, including a sale, change of use, or if the owner is moving back in, and the following:
A renter may be given a notice to vacate by their rental provider (landlord) if they, or their visitor, endanger:
- another resident or other residents
- the rental provider or their agent
- the rental provider’s or agent’s contractor or employee.
- Rental payment overdue
Under the new rental laws, when a renter pays back overdue rent within 14 days any notice to vacate issued by the rental provider (landlord) for that overdue rent is invalidated (the first four times this happens in a year).
- Limited use of ‘end of fixed term’
A rental provider will now only be able to issue an ‘end of fixed term’ notice to vacate at the end of the first fixed term of a rental agreement.
They will not be able to issue an ‘end of fixed term’ notice to vacate at the end of any subsequent fixed terms.
Rights of entry for inspections
To enter a property to take advertising photos or videos of the property, the rental provider or agent must give the renter at least 7 days’ notice in writing. The renter can object in writing to the taking of photos or videos that may identify a person living at the property.
Notice to vacate
Rental providers (landlords) cannot issue a ‘no specified reason’ notice to vacate. To end a rental agreement, rental providers must provide a valid reason such as sale, change of use or demolition of the rental property, or rental provider moving back into the rental property.
- Limiting the use of ‘end of fixed term’ notices to vacate
Rental providers can only issue a notice to vacate at the end of the first fixed-term of a rental agreement. This does not apply to long-term rental agreements of more than five years.
- Flexible end date for fixed term agreements
A notice to vacate for the end of a fixed-term agreement can specify a date on or after the end date specified in the fixed-term agreement.
- Evidence for change of use notice to vacate
Rental providers must attach documentary evidence to a notice to vacate for change of use. The Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria will specify the types of evidence that must be used, for example a building permit.
- Notice to vacate for endangering safety
Rental providers can issue a notice to vacate if the renter or their visitor endangers the safety of neighbours, the rental provider or their agent, or a contractor or employee of either the rental provider or their agent.