Tenants get new rights after rental reforms pass through parliament

Credit: Istock photo.

New rental reforms have officially passed through the Victorian parliament.

In simple terms, that means that tenants will soon be able to have a pet and make minor modifications to their homes without the permission of their landlord.

The reforms mark “the biggest reforms to renting in Victoria’s history”, according to the state government.

They passed the upper house 21-17 at about 11pm on Thursday night after hours of debate.

However, renters will have a wait before they can put a nail in a wall to hang a picture frame, with parliamentary transcripts suggesting the reforms would not come into effect until July 1, 2020.

The long delay is to allow time to get feedback from landlords, tenants and other parties on the reforms.

The changes would “strengthen renters’ rights, better protect vulnerable tenants and enable people to turn the house they rent into a home”, the government said in a statement.

The Tenants Union of Victoria has welcomed the reforms, saying it is “an important day for renters to celebrate”.

“Too many renters have been forced to deal with situations that no one should have to face simply because they rent their homes: sub-standard housing that not only poses physical risk to renters, but adversely affects their emotional wellbeing,” TVU CEO Mark O’ Brien said, as reported by Domain.com.au.

The changes will force landlords to ensure tenants have working stoves, heating, deadlocks and safety measures for gas, power and smoke alarms.

Sudden evictions with no explanation will be scrapped, rent increases limited to once a year from the previous six months, and bonds capped at four weeks’ rent as part of the reforms.

Tenants will also be allowed to make minor modifications to their home, as well as apply for the release of the bond without written consent.

Image Credit: Istock photo.