State’s Tenancy Act under review as Melbourne’s rental vacancy rate tightens in

It’s harder to find a place to rent in Melbourne right now than it has been for the last two years.

Just 1.5 per cent of Melbourne’s houses were vacant in August, a tightening in from 1.7 per cent the same time last year.

The tight rental market is obviously putting upward pressure on rents and forcing prospective renters to offer additional bonuses to landlords to snare a lease.

Consumer Affairs Victoria have released a report showing that around two in three landlords would consider a fixed-term lease over 12 months with a new tenant, while four in five would look at a longer term lease for an existing tenant.

Fixed-term vacancy agreements in this State are capped at five years and the State Government is currently reviewing the Residential Tenancies Act to look at this and other tenancy issues.

While longer tenancy agreements sound secure, Tenant Union of Victoria spokeswoman Yaelle Caspi told Domain they aren’t always the best for security, saying they could penalise renters who’s situations changed.

“The best way to achieve longer tenancies and greater security for renters is to reduce unnecessary and unfair evictions, and strengthen regulations for serving illegal notices,” she said.

“Abolishing the no reason notice to vacate would be a great step to improving security and certainty to tenants.”

Currently in Victoria landlords need to give tenants 120 days notice to vacate a premise with no reason, and tenants themselves need to give landlords 28 days notice for vacating.

Opinion is divided on the need to maintain the no reason notice, with the Consumer Affairs survey showing 58 per cent of landlords thought a 90 day notice period was acceptable, and the vast majority of tenants agreed 90 days was long enough for them to find a new property to rent.

Sam Nokes from Jellis Craig in Melbourne said the no reason notice should stay.

“It’s a very important notice – if anything, I think it should be shortened up,” he told Domain.

“We often have situations where you’ve got tenants who are playing the game, and know the rules, and we aren’t able to get them out on any other notice because they don’t provide the opportunity to.”

“By all remove it, but replace it with something else that provides the landlord with the ability to end the lease just because they want to end the lease.”


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