The Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (Vic) (“RT Act”) sets out the rights and duties of:

residential tenants and landlords;

caravan park residents and caravan park owners;

rooming house residents and rooming house owners; and

site tenants and site owners.

This chapter focuses on the law relating to tenants and landlords. There is also information about the rights and obligations of site tenants, and of rooming house and caravan park residents – these are quite different from those of tenants.

Legislation changes

At the time of writing (30 June 2018), it is anticipated that the RT Act will be significantly amended in the next 12 months. None of the announced changes have yet been implemented. However, in the next 12 months, legislative changes may include the introduction of new, long-term tenancies (i.e. tenancies longer than five years), the incorporation of part V of the Disability Act 2006 (Vic) (“Disability Act”) (seeDisability Service Safeguards Act”), and other significant changes to the overall rights and processes in the RT Act.

For up-to-date information about these legislative changes, visit www.tuv.org.au.

Disability Service Safeguards Act

On 28 August 2018, the Disability Service Safeguards Act 2018 (Vic) (“DSS Act”) was passed by the Victorian Parliament. The DSS Act has extensively modified the RT Act by removing part V of the Disability Act, redrafting it, then inserting the redrafted version into the RT Act (new pt 12A).

This means that a person who is supported under the Commonwealth Continuity of Support Program (i.e. a CoS support accommodation client) or who is a specialist disability accommodation (SDA) resident who is living in a SDA enrolled dwelling is not covered by part 12A of the RT Act. However, it may be possible for a person receiving these benefits to enter into a tenancy agreement that is covered by part 2 of the RT Act.

In the RT Act, the protections for tenants provided by the specialist disability accommodation provision (new pt 12A) are different from the protections for tenants in typical tenancies (pt 2). Most critically, the new pt 12A includes Notices of Temporary Relocation, as seen in AVW v Nadrasca Ltd (Residential Tenancies) [2017] VCAT 1462 (12 September 2017).

Under the DSS Act, SDA residents are entitled to apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to resolve disputes.

People are encouraged to seek legal advice to navigate these new laws (see Tenants Victoria in “Contacts”).