A snapshot of the changes to the Residential Tenancies Act 1997

18 September 2018
Sonia Apikian, Partner, Melbourne

On 6 September 2018 the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill 2018 was passed by Parliament and included more than 130 reforms which aim to increase protection for renters. The Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2018 (RTAA) is due to come into effect progressively and completely, by 1 July 2020 and will amend the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (Vic) (RTA).

Key changes to a mortgagees rights under the RTAA

  1. A mortgagee will now be required to give 60 days’ notice to vacate, as opposed to 28 days’ during a periodic or fixed term agreement.
  2. If a mortgagee applies to VCAT for a possession order, the mortgagee will need to evidence their entitlement to possession and to exercise a power of sale with a relevant court order. Presently, the RTA does not specify that a mortgagee must produce a court order. However, this has always been the preferred approach by VCAT.
  3. A mortgagee must not give a notice to vacate if they have expressly or impliedly consented to the mortgagor entering into a residential rental agreement in relation to the rented premises, regardless of when the residential rental agreement was entered into.
  4. A mortgagee is now included in the definition of ‘owner of premises’ for the purpose of goods left behind by renters. As an owner of premises, a mortgagee in possession of a property must take reasonable steps to give a notice to the former renter that goods have been left behind and store the goods for a period of at least 14 days.

Other key changes

Other key changes will include the change in terminology, including:

  1. Tenants will be referred to as renters.
  2. Landlords will be referred to as residential rental providers.
  3. Rooming house owners will be referred to as rooming house operators.
  4. Tenancy agreement will be referred to as residential rental agreement.

Next Steps

If you are a mortgagee who is wanting to enforce its mortgage against a renter, please contact us to discuss your obligations under the RTA, including how, and when, the reforms may impact you.

A full list of the reforms can be found at https://engage.vic.gov.au/fairersaferhousing.

Authored by: 
Sonia Apikian, Partner
Sarah Rogers, Lawyer

This update does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. It is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on matters of interest and it is not intended to be comprehensive. You should seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content.

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