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Changes to Residential Tenancies Act – March 2021

Summary of the changes due to amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act, which give better protection for tenants.

Monday 29 March 2021 at 12:00 am

From 28 March 2021 the temporary protections for renters ended. From this date renters will not longer:

  • have protection against eviction for rent arrears if they suffered COVD-19-related hardship
  • be able to end a rental agreement (whether fixed-term or periodic) due to COVID-19-related hardship
  • have recourse to arbitration for a rent reduction
  • be able to seek termination order proceedings at VCAT.  

From 29 March 2021, amendments to Residential Tenancies Act 2021 commence. Among the changes are:

  • new names: renter, rental provider and rental agreement replace tenant, landlord and lease
  • VCAT must apply the reasonable and proportionate test when deciding whether to make a possession order
  • renters who fall behind in their rent get 4 chances a year ('strikes') to repay the debt without fear of eviction
  • VCAT may adjourn possession order proceedings and refer a renter to financial counselling 
  • end of 120-day 'no reason' notice to vacate
  • new grounds for issuing notice to vacate: damage, danger, threats and intimidation, keeping pet without permission
  • easier process for getting back the bond
  • new minimum standards apply to rental accommodation
  • clearer process for dealing with goods left behind
  • Director must establish a 'rental non-compliance register' for rental providers/agents who break the law or breach VCAT orders
  • rental providers must make certain disclosures before entering a rental agreement
  • additional information to be provided to renters about unlawful discrimination
  • general increase in maximum penalties

See Key changes to residential tenancy in 2021.