After initially announcing the reforms back in October last year, Premier Daniel Andrews has now — in the lead-up to the November state election, no less — unveiled 130 reforms that will aim to increase renters' rights and protect tenants in vulnerable positions. According to Fairfax, the reforms may be introduced into parliament as early as this week and, if passed, it would be the most substantial change to the Residential Tenancies Act since it was introduced over 20 years ago.
The reforms will see updates to existing legislation to better reflect the current market and make it easier for people to enter into it — a problem that isn't just exclusive to first home buyers. Anyone who's recently had to fork out a small fortune to pay bond will be happy to know that, under the proposed changes, bond amounts would be capped at four weeks' rent and landlords would be prevented from hiking up your rent more than once a year, too.
The Andrews Government's reforms would also give you more freedom to make a house into a home — you'd be able to make small modifications such as nailing hooks into the wall. Though minor, perhaps nothing says "this feels like home" than finally being able to hang up that festival poster you've been hanging onto since 2011. And it'll be way harder for landlords to ban pets, too — they'd have to get an order from VCAT, so it's likely you'd be able to add a fur baby to your fam if you so wish.
In addition to all that, there are also a variety of further reforms to do with right of entry and leftover goods from renters at properties. And, on recommendation of the Royal Commission into Family Violence, tenants will be able to terminate rental agreements in a situation of domestic or family violence, with victims not being held liable for debts that aren't their own.
Of course, the reforms won't be reforms until they are passed through both houses of parliament — the government needs the support of both the opposition and the Greens to get them through the Upper House. Stay tuned.