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Victoria's newest rental laws explained for tenants

By  AAMI

As a tenant, the ins and outs of renting can be a little confusing. If you’re in Victoria, the newest rental law reforms can make it even more so. So, it’s important to know what these changes mean. 

What are some of the changes?

Modifications

Renters can now make some modifications to rented premises without consent from the landlord for non-heritage listed homes, including picture hooks for wall mounts and other general additions that aren’t permanent and can be easily removed. Let’s put those 80’s style family photos on show; though it’s worth noting that all modifications need to be reversed at the end of the rental agreement unless otherwise agreed with the landlord!

Notice to vacate

Landlords must now provide a valid reason and cannot issue a ‘no specified reason’ notice to vacate in order to end a rental agreement. There are also new arrangements for tenants to get their bonds back.

14-day notice period

The new law reforms have specified that if a tenant’s rent is at least 14 days overdue within a 12 month period, the landlord or rental provider can now give a tenant a 14-day notice to vacate. This however, is of no effect if the tenant pays the unpaid rent on or before the termination date in the notice and it’s the first to fourth occasion of non-payment of rent - but it’s probably easier to make sure you contact your rental provider if you can’t pay on time. 

More informed renters

A landlord or rental provider for a residental rental will now be required to give a tenant specific information prior to their renting of a property. Some of this information1 includes:

  • whether an agent has been engaged to sell the property;
  • there is action underway to enforce a mortgage over the property, and
  • the landlord has received a repair notice in the last 3 years that is related to mould or damp in the premises which is caused by or related to the building structure (this requirement starts on 31 December 2021) 

So what does that mean? Potentially no more unsuspecting move-ins only to have to repack when the house sells.

Minimum quality standards

Landlords now have a duty to only rent out properties that meet basic minimum standards. These standards have been allocated into 14 specific categories, which you can find out more about here2. Everyone appreciates a working toilet!

Updated urgent repairs

Fixing broken air conditioners and smoke detectors have been added to the urgent repairs list. In the event of an urgent repair, such as work necessary to repair serious storm damage*, it’s important to note that renters can now complete urgent repairs. Though, this is only if they have taken reasonable steps to arrange for the landlord or their agent to carry out these repairs but the landlord or agent was unable to do so. Tenants will need to use a qualified tradesperson (for the reasonable cost of repairs up to $2,500 inc. GST) in order to have this reimbursed by the landlord within 7 days of written notice of the cost.

Though, you will need to remember that this reimbursed cost doesn’t include the potential loss of your personal items (yes, even the laptop that lives in the loungeroom as you only use it because it’s connected to the TV to watch your favourite online series) in an event such as a storm. No matter what these valued items are — we’ve all got stuff that’s important to us that, because of a storm , could be damaged and need urgent repair or replacement. This is where AAMI Contents Insurance could help3.

Get a Contents Insurance Quote

How could Contents Insurance help renters?

Renters may not think they have much to cover — but things such as laptops, smartphones and LCD TVs alone, could add up to over $3,000.

Whether the 'thing that goes wrong' is water bursting from your washing machine in the middle of your Saturday night movie binge, or your Friday night cleaning spree ending in the dishwasher overflowing and soaking the bag you had on the floor (that, of course, has your laptop in it) —AAMI Contents Insurance may help cover the cost of repairing or replacing your belongings if they’re lost or damaged in an Insured Event. It may also cover your stuff against theft.

We have two types of Contents Insurance for renters. They are:

Please read the AAMI Contents Insurance Product Disclosure Statement for full details of what is and isn’t covered, the Insured events and the terms, conditions and exclusions which apply. 

 

What's the difference between AAMI Fire & Theft Contents Insurance and Contents Only Insurance?

AAMI Home Contents Only Insurance could help cover the cost of repairing or replacing belongings such as furniture, appliances and electronics — if they suffer loss or damage caused by an Insured Event. Fire & Theft Contents Insurance provides cover for loss or damage to contents caused by fire or theft, and limits cover for general contents such as furniture and electrical applicances (fridge and TV) to $25,000. However, this is only a summary of what they cover – you can find full details of what is and isn’t covered in our Product Disclosure Statements here!

Learn more about Contents Insurance

Read more:

Insurance issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as AAMI. Consider the Product Disclosure Statement before making a decision about this insurance. The Target Market Determination (TMD) is also available. This advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situations or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it.  The information is intended to be of general nature only. It does not constitute nor intend to be a substitute for legal advice. We do not accept any legal responsibility for any loss incurred as a result of reliance upon it – please make your own enquiries.

1 2 Information as per Tenants Victoria
3 We do not insure you for bushfire, storm, flood or tsunami under the AAMI Home Contents Insurance PDS in the first 72 hours of your policy. Very limited exceptions apply. Insurance cover is also subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions of the PDS. Read the PDS here for more detail.
Repair of ‘Serious storm damage’ is an urgent repair in the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (Vic).  Please refer to the relevant legislation and the list of qualifying urgent repairs and their circumstances in the legislation.