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Strengthening Rental Laws. . .

Strengthening Rental Laws
Submission to the Residential Tenancies Act options paper

Document published on 22 February 2017

VCOSS supports options to strengthen rental laws to increase people’s ability to create a safe, stable and liveable home when renting. People facing poverty and disadvantage are more likely to live in rental housing than other Victorians.

Due to an increasingly unaffordable housing market, more people are renting for longer. Victorians experiencing disadvantage can be highly vulnerable when living in rental housing, being subject to unnecessary evictions, disempowered in disputes with property owners, exposed to unnecessary costs, and vulnerable to poor housing conditions.

In this submission, VCOSS supports and builds upon options that help protect people living in rental housing from poor outcomes, and advances some additional proposals supporting this goal, including:

  • Greater protections for renters in tenancy agreements, including from discrimination, unnecessary intrusion, unfair additional responsibilities, exposure to unnecessary penalties and restrictions on keeping pets
  • Greater protection against unreasonable costs, including from excessive rent increases, payment restrictions, bonds, fees, charges, liability for unfair costs and unfair rental bidding
  • Creating healthy, liveable homes, including by introducing minimum standards for health, safety, amenity and energy efficiency, better management of repairs and maintenance, allowing reasonable modifications, and access to essential services
  • Better mechanisms for resolving disputes, including better information and advice, establishing a Victorian housing ombudsman, more consistency VCAT decisions, and stronger enforcement mechanisms
  • Promoting secure of tenure, including by abolishing ‘no-cause’ evictions, ensuring eviction is genuinely a last resort, and allowing people greater freedom to move when they need to
  • Protecting victims of family violence, including by improving access to family violence protections, allowing homes to be made safer, and establishing stronger mechanisms to secure housing for survivors of family violence, and protecting survivors’ rights in tenancies.
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