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BENDIGO RESIDENTS URGED TO HAVE THEIR SAY ON RENTAL LAWS

Friday, 13 January 2017

As new data reveals the number of local rental complaints, residents are being urged to have their say on possible changes to renting rules.

A total of 74 complaints were received in Bendigo last year, while eight were made in Kangaroo Flat and seven in Golden Square.

Member for Bendigo East, Jacinta Allan, and Member for Bendigo West, Maree Edwards, said the complaints, made by tenants, landlords and real estate agents, reaffirmed the importance of the Andrews Labor Government’s overhaul of the Residential Tenancies Act.

Ms Allan and Ms Edwards said that as the number of renters continued to grow, it was vital the community had a say in shaping the new laws.

The Government is seeking feedback on a range of options including:

·         Facilitating fixed term leases of longer than five years

·         Restricting rental increases to once per year

·         Banning rental bids

·         Introducing minimum health and safety standards for rental properties

·         Improving incentives for landlords to make repairs quickly, such as restrictions on charging market rent

·         Introducing a mediation service with powers to make binding decisions

·         Requiring notices to vacate to be accompanied by supporting evidence

·         Requiring tenants to have landlord consent before listing a property on Airbnb or similar sites

·         Allowing tenants who are victims of family violence to challenge notices to vacate if given as a result of conduct by a perpetrator

·         Banning unreasonable ‘no pets’ clauses in tenancy agreements.

The proposals have been developed following 331 written responses to the Fairer Safer Housing discussion papers and 3,500 contributions to forums and quick polls.

Submissions close on 10 February, 2017. To make a submission visit: fairersaferhousing.vic.gov.au/renting

Quotes attributable to Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan

“Our tenancy laws are old.  Clearly, it’s time for a refresh.”

“We’re looking at reforms to tenancy length, rent increases and repairs – and we want Bendigo’s renters and landlords to have their say.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards

 “More people are renting, and they’re renting for longer. It means our laws need to strike a fair balance between the rights of landlords and the rights of tenants.”

“If they have an experience to share, I’d urge local residents be a part of the conversation.”

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