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Legislative changes target tenant and strata reforms in Victoria

Housing reforms in Victoria

The Victorian Government has recently passed two amendments to existing legislation – the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 and the Owners’ Corporation Act 2006. Both will have significant impacts on the rights and responsibilities of landlords, tenants, and apartment owners.

The Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2018

The Victorian Government has made more than 130 changes to the original Residential Tenancies Act, as part of their approach to housing reforms in Victoria that will better reflect today’s needs. The amendments will affect all types of rental housing currently regulated by the Act, including public and private residential housing, rooming houses, caravan parks, and residential parks.

Some of the more significant changes, and those affected, are:

Tenants

  • can ask for longer than a 12-month lease, which can help families who rent and who are looking for more stability and security. This gives both the Landlord and Tenant long-term security and the opportunity to negotiate a long lease.
  • can arrange urgently needed repairs – such as a burst pipe – on the property they are renting and be reimbursed by the landlord for the work within seven days.

Landlords

  • must specify a reason when they give a tenant a 120-day notice to vacate.
  • can ask for no more than one month’s bond, and one month’s rent in advance.

Landlords and Agents

  • can now be blacklisted on a national database if they breach the Residential Tenancies Act.
  • can only increase rent once every 12 months and it must be reasonable in comparison to other properties on the market.

Some amendments are already in place, with the full suite of reforms to be in place from 1 July 2020.

Changes to the Owners’ Corporation Act

With the increase in the numbers of units on the residential market, the Victorian Government has also begun making amendments to the Owners’ Corporation Act 2006 to ensure the proper management of new and existing buildings alike. Some of the reforms being proposed in the bill amendments are:

  • four-tier classification of Owners’ Corporations will allow regulations to be applied by occupiable lots
    • Tier 1: 51 lots or more
    • Tier 2: 10 to 50 lots
    • Tier 3: three to nine lots
    • Tier 4: two-lot subdivision
  • Tier 1 Owners’ Corporations must prepare and approve a maintenance plan, and determine the fees paid into the maintenance fund by ordinary resolution.
  • Owners’ Corporations won’t be required to hold the use a common seal and may use signatures only.
  • lot owners will be restricted in how many proxies they can hold – small Owners’ Corporations (up to 20 lots) will be allowed one proxy per lot; for larger schemes, the amount of proxies will be calculated at not more than 5% of the total occupiable lots on that plan of subdivision.
  • Owners’ Corporations with a minimum of 10 lots can now appoint committees, and committees will be capped at seven members; there is a provision to extend membership to 12 people by ordinary resolution, which would usually be decided at a general meeting.
  • Tier 1 Owners’ Corporations with between 51 and 100 lots must have their financial statements reviewed at the end of each financial year by an independent person who holds a current practicing certificate from either CPA Australia, the Institute of Public Accountants, or Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand.

The 2019 Proposed Bill is in its draft stages, and will be in place by 1 January 2021.

Like to know more?

Here’s where you can find out more on the proposed changes which will effect Strata - Owners Corporations and Other Acts Amendment Bill - Exposure Draft consultation

For more information about the rental reforms in Victoria, visit https://www.vic.gov.au/rentfair-rental-reforms-victorians

 

Specialised Support for Your Circumstances

If you’re looking for advice on how these changes are going to impact you and your property, Prestige Strata Melbourne is ready to help. With more than 20 years in the residential strata industry, we’ve helped a lot of people adapt to an evolving market so they can focus on enjoying life where they live.

Raul Ranca

About Raul Ranca

Estate Agent and accredited Owners Corporation Manager. I believe it's very important that we keep our clients up to date with Strata matters, so they are prepared and can make informed choices when they need to.

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