The Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (RTA) sets out tenant rights and obligations in Victoria.
Starting the tenancy
In Victoria, the tenant should be provided with the following documents when leasing a residential property:
- Consumer Affairs Victoria Booklet – Renting a home
- a copy of the unsigned tenancy agreement
- a bond lodgement form
- an entry condition report.
It is important the tenant reads through the documents and understands all of the terms of the tenancy agreement, prior to signing.
The tenant is required to complete a condition report once they have moved into the property. The condition of the property and any damage should be noted on the report. It is a good idea to take photos to attach to the condition report.
A bond is paid at the start of the tenancy in the event the tenant defaults on rent or damages the property. The bond must be lodged with the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority (RTBA), to be held until the tenancy agreement ends.
The RTBA will send the tenant a receipt once they have received the bond from the landlord.
In Victoria, there is no limit on the amount of bond a landlord can request unless the rent is less than $350 per week. If the rent is under $350 per week, the maximum bond payable is the equivalent of one months rent.
The tenancy agreement will stipulate when the rent is payable. If the tenant falls more than 14 days behind in rent, the landlord can issue a notice to vacate. However, the only way a tenant can be evicted from a property is by an order from the Victoria Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).
The tenant may be able to stop VCAT issuing an eviction order by showing the tribunal that either they are able to pay the arrears or a repayment plan has been agreed upon.
The tenant has the right to quiet enjoyment of the property for the duration of the tenancy agreement.
If the landlord wants to enter the property they must give the tenant written notice, noting the reason for entry.
If the landlord does not provide notice within the required time frame, the tenant can refuse the landlord entry to the property.
The tenant is obligated to report any repairs required, regardless of whether it bothers the tenant or not. The landlord then has a set amount of time to organise for the repairs to be carried out. The time in which the repairs must be undertaken depends on whether the repair is urgent or non-urgent.
If the tenant is responsible for the damage they may be required to pay for the repairs; however, it still must be reported to the landlord.
If the landlord does not carry out the repairs within 14 days, the tenant can contact Consumer Affairs Victoria for further assistance.
When leasing a property in Victoria there is no standard clause in the tenancy agreement regarding pets. A landlord may decide to have a ‘no pets’ condition inserted into the agreement.
To avoid any disputes the tenant should discuss with the landlord whether pets are allowed, prior to signing the tenancy agreement.
The landlord is required to pay the initial connection fees for water, gas, and electricity on the property.
Unless otherwise agreed, the tenant is responsible for paying the consumption fees if the property has individual meters measuring the consumption.
Ending a tenancy
At the end of the tenancy agreement, the tenant is required to clean the property and remove all of their belongings. All keys and remotes must be returned to the landlord.
Once the tenant has vacated the property, the landlord will complete a final inspection and exit report. It is recommended the tenant attend the final inspection so that any issues can be dealt with straight away.
If the property has incurred damage or has been left unclean, the landlord may claim money from the bond to cover the cost of cleaning and repairs. The landlord cannot claim for reasonable wear and tear.
Money can only be deducted from the bond where the tenant agrees and signs the bond claim form. If the tenant does not agree, the landlord cannot claim the money unless an application to VCAT is successful
Watch the video below to know more about the landlord and tenant rights in Victoria
This article reflects the state of the law as at 23 March 2016. It is intended to be of a general nature only and does not constitute legal advice. If you require legal assistance, please telephone 1300 636 846 or request a consultation at gotocourt.com.au.