A date has finally been set for the introduction of key reforms that will mandate minimum standards for Victorian rentals and allow tenants to make minor modifications to their homes.
The law changes — which have been long awaited by renters after being delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic last year — are due to be ticked off by Governor Linda Dessau on Wednesday and brought into effect from March 29.
They’ll mean tenants won’t have to ask their landlords for permission to make small changes to their properties, including adding picture hooks to walls, replacing curtains, painting, securing gates, and installing security systems, fly screens and energy-efficient LED lights.
Tenants will soon be able to install picture hooks without their landlord’s permission.
Installing child safety measures, like blind or cord anchors and safety gates, and planting vegetable and herb gardens will also be allowed.
The state’s rental properties will also be required to meet minimum standards, including having a permanent, working heater in the living room, hot and cold water in the bathrooms and laundry, and functioning ovens, stovetops and sinks in the kitchen.
A full list of standards — which were determined following a public consultation process that generated more than 700 written submissions — will be released on Wednesday.
Planting vegetable and herb gardens will also be allowed.
Consumer Affairs Minister Melissa Horne said the changes were designed to “protect vulnerable tenants and turn rental properties from a house into a real home”.
The reforms are among 130 amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act that passed Victorian parliament in 2018.
Several of them have already come into effect, with landlords notably blocked from “unreasonably” preventing tenants from keeping pets and rent rises limited to once a year.
The government had initially planned to enforce all 130 by June last year, until COVID-19 postponed this to 2021.