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Govt introduces new rights for renters in Victoria

Australian property investors who act as landlords for the homes they purchase need to make sure they are complying with new rules that have been introduced by the government in Victoria to protect tenants' rights.

The state government has brought in new legislation for renters in recognition of the fact that a growing number of people are renting for long periods of time before making the move to become homeowners.

The reforms include a ban on rental bidding and on evicting tenants without a valid reason.

Meanwhile, tenants will now be allowed to keep pets in rental properties, unless the owner has a specific and valid reason as to why they cannot. 

At the same time, landlords will be obliged by law to provide payment for urgent repairs within one week in the future - previously, they have had two weeks to reimburse tenants. As a result, renters won't be left out of pocket for as long, giving them more rights and making conditions fairer for them.

Another new rule that will make renting more attractive and fairer is that tenants will no longer have to legally seek permission from their landlords to make minor modifications to the property they are living in, such as putting up hooks for picture frames.

Landlords will no longer be able to increase rent prices every six months. Instead, they will have to let at least a year go by before upping charges for tenants - a move that should provide renters with greater security and prevent them from potentially having to move around every few months.

What's more, the total cost of the deposit or bond that many renters are asked for upon moving into a property will be capped at a month's rent. Before now, landlords have been able to charge above this, which has often made it difficult for families and young couples to scrape together enough money to secure their chosen property.

Marlene Kairouz, Victoria's minister for consumer affairs, explained: "More people are renting than ever before and for longer - that's why tenants need a fairer deal.

"These changes will crack down on rental bidding, make it easier and faster for renters to get their bond back and will better hold landlords and agents to account for their actions."

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