News Media Releases Housing and Homelessness

“A good start”: VCOSS reviews Victoria’s new rental rules.

VCOSS MEDIA RELEASE

The Victorian Government has unveiled an impressive though imperfect list of minimum standards for rental properties across the state.

The draft Minimum rental standards, released today, will for the first time compel landlords to ensure any property they put on the market must have:

  • A working toilet
  • Lockable doors
  • Windows that open, and
  • An operational oven and stovetop

Rental properties must also now be mould free, have window coverings (like blinds or curtains) and access to light in each room.

VCOSS CEO Emma King said the standards are “a big step forward” for Victoria.

“Never before have we had minimum standards for rental properties,” Ms King said.

“Landlords can no longer put a complete dump on the market and expect people to live in it. And renters can have confidence the property they apply for meets a basic standard.”

However, Ms King said the draft regulations represent a missed opportunity with regards to energy efficiency and fully accessible housing.

“These standards currently don’t require basic things like ceiling insulation, draught-proofing or energy-efficient hot water systems. This is a missed opportunity.”

“With the stroke of a pen, we could have started making a large portion of Victoria’s housing stock more energy efficient; cutting pollution and saving people money on their power bills.”

Ms King said a different section of the regulations, as currently drafted, will make it a slightly easier for tenants with a disability or a mobility issue to make modifications such as installing a ramp or shower chair—but these changes should be bolder.

“The regulations should make it easier for every Victorian to undertake a disability or mobility related modification—not just those who can prove a strong personal need.“

“Ultimately, we want every home in Victoria to be fully accessible for every person.”

Ms King warned some of the regulations may also have the unintended consequence of making life harder and more dangerous for women and children fleeing violence.

“These regulations could require women to share personal banking data with their rental agency and negotiate with their landlord about the speedy installation of security measures.”

VCOSS will prepare a formal response to the draft regulations by 17 December 2019.

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