Under new rules announced on the weekend by the Andrews government, tenants in Victoria will now access a raft of new rights and liberties at the expense of landlords and managers.
Among such new laws, landlords are no longer allowed to solicit for higher bids above the advertised rental price on a listing. Bonds will be shrunk to no more than 4 weeks (which is the same as in QLD). Landlords will also be unable to issue a notice to leave at the conclusion of a lease, without a specific reason. By far the biggest shake-up, however, comes in the form of changes to the law that allow all tenants to keep a pet in the property. This includes high rise units and apartments! Tenants do still need to seek ‘permission’ to have the pet, but the only grounds of refusal available to landlords is if the body corporate bans pets or the local council bans the specific pet (such as chickens).
One would have thought, rather obviously, that keeping a large dog locked in a small unit all day has the potential to reek absolute havoc in the building. The damage such an animal can inflict on doors, walls, blinds and floors during a lease period can chew through 4 weeks bond very easily, and with a ban on seeking more bond, there seems not much a landlord can do about it. It will be interesting to see what sort of affect this has on the price of land-lord insurance, but we can only assume it will rise significantly with the introduction of these new laws.
The RSPCA said over the past two years, 15 per cent of the dogs and cats turned in to them were surrendered because the owners were moving and could not take their pets. This is a sad statistic, but ultimately tenants should he responsible enough not to purchase pets while living in unsuitable accommodation for them. It shouldn’t be the landlord who has to pick up the tab here.
The REIV has said they are concerned the new laws will force the cost of rent up and that landlords are being left exposed throughout the process. It seems obvious this will be the outcome and that the result will leave tenants paying even more for rent than they already are in Victoria.
In Queensland, we’ve already seen QCAT overturn body corporate bans on pets declaring them unreasonable. The only thing preventing apartment buildings from becoming overrun with cats and dogs is lease agreements in the Smart State. If similar laws were introduced here in Queensland, the results could be catastrophic within high-density accommodation.