Victoria Residential Tenancies
In Victoria Residential Tenancies are subject to and governed by the Residential Tenancies Act 1997.
The act applies to both verbal and written agreements and covers most residential tenancies if the rented premises are used primarily for residential purposes. However some tenancies are not covered under the Act. These include tenancies where the fixed term of the agreement is less than 60 days or more than 5 years or immediately before the agreement was entered into, the rented premises were the landlord's principal place of residence. There are other situations where the act does not apply and these instances can be found in the Residential Tenancies Act 1997
Unlike some states, the landlord or the landlord’s agent is permitted to accept a deposit from a prospective tenant. However if an agreement is not signed within 14 days the deposit must be refunded.
Before the tenant moves into the rented premises or enters into a Rental Agreement there are several documents that they must receive from the Landlord or the landlords agent. These include a written copy of the lease, a list of costs that they will need to pay when they sign the lease and a booklet called Renting a Home. This booklet explains the rights and responsibilities of the tenant and those of the landlord and it is freely available from the Victorian Office of Consumer Affairs.
The tenant must be given time to read and understand the terms of the tenancy agreement and the condition report before being asked to sign it. They are also entitled to seek appropriate legal advice if necessary.
About The Tenancy Agreement
At the beginning of the tenancy the landlord fills out and signs 3 copies of the condition report and gives two copies to the tenant. The tenant indicates agreement or disagreement with the condition suggested by the landlord or landlord’s agent by placing a tick or a comment in the correct space. If they believe the report does not represent the true condition of the premises, this is the time to sat so. The tenant must return one signed copy of the completed condition report to the landlord or landlord’s agent within (3) business days and keeps the second copy.
The bond payable by the tenant cannot be more than one months rent if the weekly rental is $350 or less. Higher bonds are possible although the Land lord or agent must apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to justify such. The Bond may also be higher without the tribunals approval if the rent is more than $350.00pw.
Rent in Advance
The tenant will usually be required to pay 2 weeks rent in advance from the first day of the tenancy if the weekly rent is $350 or less. If rental frequency is not weekly and the rent is more than $350 up to one calendar month in advance is acceptable.
Ending an Agreement
Terminating tenancy agreements must be done in a fashion compliant with the Act.
It is most important that when a tenant or landlord or agent attempts to end the agreement that it is done in such a way that it is consistent and legal under the act. There are three main ways to end an agreement, including:
• agreement of all parties to end the tenancy early, or
• a landlord or agent gives a ‘Notice to Vacate’ to the tenant, or
• a tenant gives notice to the landlord or agent that they intend to vacate. In cases of severe hardship, VCAT can end a fixed-term tenancy early.
Residential Tenancy Rental Agreement kits for Victoria are available from RP Emery and Associates as a downloadable MS word document. Unlike a hardcopy agreement the document can be used time and again and it also allows a certain amount of flexibility to edit as you see fit.
Victoria Residential Tenancy Agreement Available for Immediate Download More Information Click Here
By Ian Macleod