Legislation

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;

site tenants and site owners; and

specialist disability accommodation residents and providers.

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 residents of rooming houses, caravan parks and specialist disability accommodation – these are quite different from those of tenants.

Legislation changes

At the time of writing (1 July 2019), there have been major changes made to the RT Act. These include the introduction of long-term tenancies and specialist disability accommodation (SDA).

SDA was created under the Disability Service Safeguards Act 2018 (Vic) (“DSS Act”). The DSS Act revoked part V of the Disability Act 2006 (Vic) (“Disability Act”) and inserted a significantly amended framework into the RT Act (new pt 12A). Disputes about long-term tenancies and SDA are heard in VCAT’s Residential Tenancies List.

This chapter makes limited observations about part 12A of the RT Act. Part 12A mirrors many parts of an ordinary tenancy under part 2 of the RT Act. However, there are many significant differences and any person dealing with a SDA should seek legal advice (see Legal services that can help).

Other recent legislative updates include the:

Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Regulations 2018 (Vic);

Residential Tenancies Regulations 2019 (Vic).

Other notable amendments made in the past 12 months include:

rent can now only be increased every 12 months, rather than every six months (s 44(4A));

a compensation scheme has been introduced for eligible part 4A residents who receive a Notice to Vacate for park closure (e.g. caravan parks) (s 215A, B);

certain roominng houses can now apply to have their address suppressed to protect people from domestic violence or other exceptional circumstances.

The remaining nearly 130 amendments to the RT Act are expected to take effect on 1 July 2020. Transitional provisions about how the changes affect current agreements are in schedule 1 of the RT Act. Also, ma of the regulations (e.g. the minimum standards for rented premises) will be drafted in the next 12 months. For up-to-date information about these legislative changes, visit www.tuv.org.au.