RESIDENTIAL TENANCY LAWS IN VICTORIA
Residential Tenancy in Victoria
On this page, you will find information about residential tenancies and information for landlords who rent residential properties in Victoria. Tenancy law is complex. This information is general in nature, does not contemplate all scenarios, does not consider your personal circumstances and should not be taken as legal advice. Both landlords and tenants have rights and obligations. Speak to one of our tenancy lawyers today on 1800 572 417 for legal advice.
Landlords benefit from rental property by receiving income from their residential rental property, whilst providing a valuable service to society. Society benefits when our landlords provide a safe home for someone to rent and live in. Often this can be a rewarding experience for both the landlord and the tenant. Sometimes, however, a landlord’s return on investment can be significantly affected due to the behavior of a tenant and by circumstances out of the landlord’s control. We understand that many residential properties are encumbered by a mortgage and the landlord is relying on the rental income to meet or help meet the mortgage expense.
Tenancy laws can be complex! When it comes to your investment, you need a lawyer who understands tenancies laws and a landlord’s unique position. We can help you reduce your risks and where possible recover losses. Our tenancy lawyers can assist you with legal advice in relation to your rental property and provide legal representation to give you the best outcome.
Tenancy Laws in Victoria
The tenancy laws in Victoria are regulated by the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (Vic). The Residential Tenancies Act 1997 sets out the framework for the resolution of tenancy issues through the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (“VCAT”) to resolve disputes between the Landlord and the Tenant. It is important to remember that both Landlords and Tenants in Victoria have rights and obligations under the Residential Tenancies Act 1997.
If you are unsure of your rights and obligations, we recommend speaking to one of our tenancy lawyers to ensure you do not make a costly mistake by breaching tenancy laws.
The Residential Tenancy Lease
The landlord and tenant relationship is created when the landlord transfers the ‘right to occupy’ the property to the tenant. This is called the lease agreement or the residential tenancy agreement. The residential tenancy agreement can be verbal or in writing. Regardless of how you enter into a residential tenancy agreement with the tenant, the same rules apply for residential rental properties. Where a written agreement is given, it must be in the standard form required by the Victorian Government. The lease usually commences for a fixed-term and then runs on to a periodic basis once the fixed-term expires.
Drafting Residential Tenancy Agreements
Ensuring that your residential tenancy agreement complies with the law and provides you with the best safeguards and can help keep things running smoothly. Compliance reduces the potential risks and hassles that sometimes come with residential tenancy. My Legal Crunch’s tenancy lawyers can draft your Residential Tenancy Agreement or review your existing agreements and provide you with legal advice.
Residential Tenancy and The Bond
Landlords must remember to request a bond from their tenants as a security deposit. The bond money can be claimed as compensation if the tenants fails to keep the premises clean, damages the property or does not pay rent.
Serious issues can arise if the landlord fails to:
Adhere to the bond rules including the limit on the amount of bond that can be held
Providing the bond to the appropriate regulatory authority
Comply with the bond money handling time limits
My Legal Crunch can assist Landlords with bond requirements and assist them on the required process for bonds under Victorian Tenancy Laws.
Residential Tenancies and the Condition Report
Once the landlord receives the bond, the landlord must prepare a ‘Condition Report’ which notes the rental property’s general condition including fixtures and fittings. The landlord must give 2 copies of the condition report to the tenant. The tenant will then have the opportunity of making their own observation about the condition of the rental property and will make notes on the report. The tenant will then return a copy to the landlord for safe keeping.
Speak to one of our tenancy lawyers for legal advice on preparing condition reports. The right course of action will save you time and expense later if you need to make a claim against your tenant for cleaning costs and property damage.
Residential Tenancy and Rent Payments
Rent on a residential tenancy is calculated daily, however, payments are made weekly, fortnightly or monthly. A landlord cannot ask a tenant for more than one month's rent in advance.
A landlord must provide rental receipts to the tenant and the tenant may request a receipt within 12 months from the date of the rent payment. For this reason, it is important to ensure rent receipt bookkeeping is maintained.
Residential Tenancy and Rent Increases
A landlord cannot increase the rent until the end of the fixed term unless the residential tenancy agreement states otherwise. After the fixed term period has ended, a landlord can only increase the rent once every six months and not before giving the tenant at least 60 days’ notice in the required form.
Rent Payment and Eviction Orders
Under some circumstances, if your tenant falls behind in rent, a notice to vacate can be issued. Our tenancy lawyers can issue this notice on your behalf. If the tenant then fails to pay the rent arrears, a landlord can apply to VCAT for a possession order to evict the tenant from the property. If an eviction order is granted the police can be called in to assist with the eviction.
VCAT may not always grant an eviction order and may consider a range of circumstances in such a decision. Our tenancy lawyers can assist you with an assessment of the circumstances and the likely outcome. With this knowledge, you can be empowered to make the best decision to reduce the risk and possible losses.
Heavy penalties can apply if a landlord attempts to evict a tenant with lawful rights. While landlords do not like having to evict tenants, our tenancy lawyers understand your obligations and we can assist you with legal advice, representation and a tailored strategy through the possession order process.
In a legal crunch?
Speak to a tenancy lawyer today on 1800 572 417