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Renting with children

A rental provider cannot discriminate against a potential resident because they have a child, although some exceptions apply.

It is illegal for a rental provider to:

  • refuse to let rented premises
  • instruct or permit their estate agent to refuse to let rented premises

to person under a rental agreement on the ground that they intend to live in the premises with a child.

A child is defined as a child 'under 16 years' for the purpose of this section of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997.

Penalty

The maximum penalty is 25 penalty units.

This matter cannot be dealt with by issuing an infringement notice.

See s. 30—Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Exceptions

Exceptions to this include if the property:

  • is let by a public statutory authority or body corporate for which they receive financial assistance to provide housing for lone people or childless couples under specific legislation
  • is the principal place of residence of the rental provider who refuses to live with a child
  • by reason of design or a location that is unsuitable or inappropriate for occupation by a child.

The rental provider may legally have premises declared unsuitable for children, for example, because of the design or location. To do this they must apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) for an order exempting them from providing rental accommodation to people with children. They cannot apply if they have already brought a dispute under Part 8 of the Equal Opportunity Act 2010.

See 30(3A)—Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Exception under discrimination law

These exceptions are reflected in the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic). This Act allows a person to refuse to provide accommodation to a person with a child if the premises are unsuitable or inappropriate for a child because of their design or location.

See s. 58A—Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

What a prospective renter can do about discrimination

A renter who believes that they been discriminated against on the basis that they have children, can make a complaint to the Victorian Equal Opportunity Commission. They could also apply to VCAT based on a claim that the rental provider has breached a duty under the Act. The renter cannot apply to VCAT is they have already made a complaint to the Victorian Equal Opportunity Commission.

See ss. 30, 452—Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

More information

Legislation

Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (Vic)

  • s. 30—renters with children
  • s. 452—general applications to VCAT

See Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic)

  • s. 58A—accommodation that is unsuitable for children
  • Part 8—

See Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Reference

Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission

A person may make a complaint about discrimination to the commission (VEOHRC).

See VEOHRC—Make a complaint(opens in a new window).

Updated