By Anthony Webb
Last week, the Victorian Government officially released details of the 130 reforms to the Residential Tenancies Act that will come into effect on March 29.
We are pleased to see reforms being introduced that will ensure greater tenant protections and benefit the industry long-term, reducing negative renting experiences for tenants.
However, with the introduction of the 130 changes less than two months away, it is disappointing that landlords and property managers haven’t been given adequate time or notice to implement these changes, during what is already the busiest time of the year for leasing.
What we would really like to see from the government is enhanced education about the changes, direct to landlords and tenants. The responsibility to communicate these reforms should not be left solely to property managers.
The reforms will require significant changes to processes, systems and documents across the sector. For example, landlords are required to pay for gas and electricity safety checks biannually. They will also have to compensate tenants when conducting open for inspections ($30, or half a day’s rent). The details and nuances of these changes should be thoroughly communicated to landlords by the government, as confusion will naturally arise.
In the same vein, tenants must also be directly educated about how the new changes will affect them. For instance, whilst tenants can now make ‘minor modifications’ to the property, they may be unaware that they have to return it to exactly the way they found it.
It’s time for the government to step up and provide better support and engagement with property managers and landlords for the benefit of the entire industry.