The Residential Tenancies Regulations 2021 are new rental laws in Victoria. These took effect on March 29, 2021. The new legislation gives renters (tenants) and rental providers more rights and duties (landlords).
Residential rental providers are responsible for certain structural and plumbing issues. The new renting legislation imposes new obligations on:
- Checks for safety that must be performed.
- Minimum rental requirements
Checks for Safety
New rental agreements entered into after March 29, 2021, are subject to the new regulations. Any current fixed-term agreement with a term of more than five years that converts to a periodic tenancy on or after March 29, 2021, falls under this category.
The following safety-related activities/checks must be performed on rental premises by rental providers (landlords):
- Gas safety inspection: Rental companies must inspect all gas installations and fittings every two years for safety. This work must be done by a gasfitter with Type A gas appliance servicing qualifications. For a detailed description of what the gas safety inspection entails, go to the Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) website.
For additional information, go to the Landmark Inspections website.
- Electrical safety inspection: For rental providers, an electrical safety inspection on all electrical installations and fittings must be performed every two years by a qualified electrician.
- Smoke alarm inspections: Rental companies must have their smoke alarms checked at least once a year to ensure they are installed and working properly.
- Swimming pool barrier safety inspection: According to the 2018 Building Regulations, the rental company must keep any swimming pool barrier in excellent working order.
- Mobile swimming pools: Renters must notify the home rental provider in writing before installing a relocatable swimming pool and get the relevant approvals before doing so.
- For Properties in Bushfire-prone Locations, Water Tanks Are Employed for Firefighting: Water tanks and associated infrastructure must be kept in good working order by rental companies for firefighting purposes.
When the rental agreement begins, it must also be full and clean. This requirement only applies to properties in a bushfire-prone area, as defined by Section 192A of the Building Act 1993.
Minimum Rental Requirements
Under the new rental legislation, rental companies must verify that their rental property meets certain basic criteria. The minimum standards apply to rental agreements signed on or after March 29, 2021.
The rental minimum standards address the most basic needs for amenity, safety, and privacy. Rental companies must ensure that their properties meet the following requirements:
A properly registered or licensed plumber must install a fixed heating appliance.
Heating requirements are approached in phases:
- A fixed heater in good working order in the main living area of the rental premise, including class 1 structures (attached and detached houses) and class 2 properties, will be required starting March 29, 2021. (multi-unit residential buildings).
- If a fixed heater in the main living space has not been installed by March 29, 2021, an energy-efficient (2-star minimum) fixed heater in excellent functioning order must be installed.
- From March 29, 2023, the primary living space of rental premises must have a fixed energy efficient (2-star minimum) heater in perfect functioning order. The energy efficiency requirement does not apply if the rental property is in a class 2 building and it is not practicable to install an energy-efficient heater (e.g., due to Owner’s Corporation requirements or exorbitant expenses), but a fixed heater is still necessary.
Any of the following is an energy-efficient fixed heater:
- a non-ducted air conditioner or heat pump with a 2-star or higher heating rating.
- a 2-star or higher heating rating gas space heater
a ducted heating or hydronic heating system having an outlet in the rental premises’ main living area
- a household solid fuel-burning appliance
- Ventilation: The ventilation regulations of the Australian Building Code must be met by rented premises.
- Bathrooms: There must be adequate hot and cold water, as well as a wash basin and a shower or bath. Showerheads and tapware must have a minimum WELS rating of three stars.
- Toilets: Toilets must be at least 3 Star WELS rated and located in a room dedicated to this purpose.
- Kitchen facilities: Cooking and food preparation facilities, hot and cold-water supply (at least 3 Star WELS rated tapware), and cooktop are all required.
- Laundry facilities are available: Laundry must have both hot and cold water if it is present.
- Structural integrity: It must be waterproof and structurally sound.
- Mould and moisture: Each room must be free of mould and dampness generated by the structure of the building.
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