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Victorian landlords bracing for new burdens

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Changes to Victoria's residential tenancies act will make renting more complex, and possibly more costly, for landlords and tenants. Photo: Shutterstock

Victorian landlords bracing for new burdens

Changes to Victoria’s residential tenancy regulations have been described as an “unbalanced burden”, with landlords facing cost hikes and substantial increases in the time needed to manage their assets.

Changes to Victoria’s residential tenancy regulations have been described as an “unbalanced burden”, with landlords facing cost hikes and substantial increases in the time needed to manage their assets.

From March 29, more than 120 changes to the state’s residential tenancy laws will be enacted, including reforms of how properties are advertised, what sort of information can be requested by a landlord or an agent, and alterations to rules governing the break of leases by either a tenant or a landlord.

Landlords will also have to ensure their properties meet minimum standards, while new guidelines have been developed around urgent repairs and regular maintenance.

The Victorian government is implementing the changes, which are the biggest reforms to tenancy laws in several decades in the state, to create a safer and fairer environment for both tenants and landlords.

Real Estate Institute of Victoria chief executive Gil King said the changes would require extensive education in a short timeframe.

“Increasing ownership costs and making maintenance and management of property more complex is a deterrent for investment,” Mr King said.

“New costs introduced through these changes are likely to result in higher rents and could see Mum and Dad investors exit this asset class, putting further pressure on rental availability and affordability for Victorians.

“The REIV has made these consequences known to property policy makers, so we are surprised to see even more of a pendulum swing away from investment property owners, now referred to as rental providers.”

Mr King acknowledged, however, that the changes were a reality that the sector needed to face.

He said the REIV would conduct online and offline information sessions to assist landlords with the transition.

“For decades, real estate in Victoria has managed to play well with the cards it has been dealt, with the market’s performance in a coronavirus-stricken 2020 a good example,” Mr King said.

“For this reason, we should have confidence that the competent people in the industry will manage through these changes and continue to contribute to a thriving sector.”

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