Renting in 2022. Know your rights

Understanding your rights as a renter can be difficult.

In 2021, the law was changed significantly to make renting in Victoria fairer.

The changes expanded the legal rights and responsibilities for both rental providers (aka landlords) and renters.

We’ve rounded up some of the major changes that you should be aware of whether you’re looking to rent, already renting, or leaving a lease – find out what your rights are.

I’ve found a property! Now what?

There are a few things to consider before you sign your lease agreement, including:

  • Rental providers and their estate agents can only advertise or offer rental properties at a fixed price. This means that they cannot invite higher bids, no matter how many applications they receive.
  • There are very strict rules about how the rental provider and their agent can use your personal information – they can only use it to assess suitability as a renter.
  • Rental providers and their estate agents must disclose information on whether the property is for sale or being repossessed, and if they know if the property has asbestos in it.
  • Rental agreements must contain an information statement on unlawful discrimination, and rental providers must not unlawfully discriminate against renters.
  • Rental providers can request a maximum of one month’s bond.

You can find out more by visiting the Consumers Affairs Victoria website.

I’ve got the keys! What are my rights?

Gone are the days where you can’t even hang a picture in a rental! New changes to the law give tenants much more flexibility, as well keep them safer:

  • There must be a functioning stove in the kitchen, running hot and cold water in the kitchen and bathroom, and permanent working heating.
  • The rules on pets have changed, and rental providers can’t unreasonably refuse a request for a pet.
  • Rent can’t be increased more than once every 12 months.
  • You’re now allowed to make more changes and modifications to your place without getting approval from your rental provider, including installing wireless doorbells, shower heads, adhesive child locks and yes, even picture hooks!
  • Rental providers must adhere to certain rules about keeping your home safe including ensuring that smoke alarms are installed, working and tested every 12 months; gas and electrical safety checks, and pool barrier compliance checks.

You can find out more about your rights and responsibilities by visiting Tenants Victoria.

I signed a lease so why is my landlord trying to kick me out? And what is the most a landlord can raise the rent? Property law experts will look at the most common legal issues this Law Week. Tune in to the podcast.

Can my landlord evict my fur baby? One in two Australians own a pet and many of us consider them to be the most important member of the household. So, can a landlord ban a pet for no reason? Lawyers are here this Law Week to decode the new laws and regulations and what your rights are as a tenant or owner. Tune in to the podcast.

It’s time to go, what do I need to know?

Once again, there are rights and responsibilities for both the rental provider and the tenant when it comes time to move out including:

  • You must leave the property in a reasonably clean condition. In some circumstances you may be required to have the property professionally cleaned.
  • The rental provider or estate agent must complete an ‘End of rental agreement’ condition report within 10 days of the end of rental agreement.
  • You can make a claim for your bond directly with the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority as soon as you move out.
  • Rental providers are now required to provide a reason with your notice to vacate – and not just any reason, but a valid reason. This includes a sale, change of use, or if the owner is moving back in.

Can’t pay the rent? Don’t get evicted. Are you or somebody you know falling behind on your rent? Join Victoria Legal Aid in Shepparton this Law Week for a talk about what options are available to renters when they fall behind on their rent payments. Find out more.

What happens when problems arise?

Problems can arise when rental providers or renters do not meet their obligations. These problems may relate to:

  • Maintenance and repairs
  • Bonds
  • Lease breaking and Notice to Vacate

Want to learn more about the new laws and your rights as a renter?

Come along and check out these events at Victorian Law Week 2022.

There are many organisations which may be able to assist when problems do arise including:

Check out other events during
Victorian Law Week

The information in this article was sourced from Victoria Legal Aid, and the other legal, government, and community organisations mentioned. The content of this article does not constitute legal advice and is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice and therefore, should not be relied upon as such. You should seek legal advice or other professional advice in relation to any matters you have. No claim or representation is made, or warranty given, express or implied, in relation to the content of this article.