Victorian Residential Tenancy Agreement Requirements Amended

This alert applies to all subscribers who are party to a residential tenancy agreement or who operate a rooming house. The Bill will likely amend the VIC – Residential Tenancies and the VIC – Housing and Accommodation modules.

Residential Tenancies Amendment (Long-term Tenancy Agreements) Bill 2017 (Vic)

Please be advised that the Residential Tenancies Amendment (Long-term Tenancy Agreements) Bill 2017 (Vic) (the Bill) passed the Victorian Parliament on 22 August 2018 and is currently awaiting assent. The Bill is due to commence on 1 February 2019 (unless it comes into operation before that date), and will amend the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (Vic) (the Act).

At present, section 6 of the Act excludes the application of the Act to residential tenancy agreements with a fixed term of more than 5 years. This means that while parties are able to enter into a tenancy agreement for a lease of longer than 5 years, such agreements are not covered by the Act. The primary purpose of the Bill is to amend the Act to provide that all tenancy agreements will be subject to the requirements of the Act, regardless of the length of the term of the tenancy agreement.

It is important to note that the Bill will insert section 26(1A) into the Act which requires a tenancy agreement for a fixed term of more than 5 years to be in writing, and to be in a standard form.

Organisations should be aware that the Bill will also insert section 26(2A) into the Act which provides that it is an offence to prepare (or authorise the preparation of) a tenancy agreement for a fixed term of more than 5 years if the agreement is not in one of the standard forms. A breach of section 26(2A) will incur a sanction of 10 penalty units. It is also important to note that the Bill will insert section 237A in the Act which provides that if a tenancy agreement for a fixed term of more than 5 years does not comply with the requirements of section 26A(1) (that it be in writing and in a prescribed standard form), the tenant is empowered to give the landlord notice of intention to vacate specifying a termination date not less than 28 days after the date on which the notice is given.

In addition, the Bill will introduce section 27A(1) to the Act which enables parties to a tenancy agreement for a term of more than 5 years to agree to add terms that are additional to the terms contained in the prescribed standard form tenancy agreement. However, organisations should keep in mind that the newly introduced section 27A(2) of the Act makes it an offence for a person to include an additional term in a tenancy agreement for a fixed term of more than 5 years, if that term excludes, restricts or modifies any provision of the relevant standard form tenancy agreement.

A breach of section 27A(2) will incur a sanction of 10 penalty units.

Finally, rooming house owners should be aware that the Bill will amend section 94 of the Act to prohibit a rooming house owner and resident from entering into a tenancy agreement for a fixed term of more than 5 years.

Please click here to access the Bill.

Contact

For further information please contact the Law Compliance team:

Phone: 1300 862 667

Email: info@lawcompliance.com.au

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