VIC: New Rental Legislation, 29 March 2021
Whilst legislation regarding the provision and maintenance of smoke alarms in residential homes has been in place for years, 2021 sees the implementation of other safety-related obligations for rental providers. Key safety activities being introduced include pool barriers and bushfire-prone areas. The two that will affect all properties under our management will be the electrical and gas safety checks.
Clear guidelines have now been determined and all landlords who own and lease a residential investment property in Victoria will be governed by the change. These requirements are mandatory, meaning landlords must ensure that these guidelines are met or face serious fines and possible litigation in the event of an issue.
Electrical safety checks:
- You must ensure that an electrical safety check of all electrical installations, appliances and fittings in rentals is conducted every 2 years by a licensed or registered electrician, and, you must provide the renter with the date of the most recent safety check, in writing, on request of the renter (within 7 days).
- If an electrical safety check of the rented premises has not been conducted within the last 2 years at the time the renter occupies the premises, the rental provider must arrange an electrical safety check as soon as practicable.
- You must keep records of the licensed electrician who did the check, his/her registration number, the date of the check, results, a report prepared in accordance with section 2 of AS/NZS 3019. This record must be kept until the next check.
Gas safety checks
- This safety-related activity only applies if the rented premises contains any appliances, fixtures or fittings which use or supply gas. It is important to note that a heater check for carbon monoxide does not constitute a full gas safety check so balance works will have to be completed for the property to be deemed compliant.
- The residential rental provider must ensure that a gas safety check of all gas installations and fittings in the rented premises is conducted every 2 years by a licensed or registered gasfitter and must provide the renter with the date of the most recent safety check, in writing, on request by the renter.
- If a gas safety check has not been conducted within the last 2 years at the time the renter occupies the premises, the residential rental provider must arrange a gas safety check as soon as practicable.
Smoke alarm safety checks
- The rental provider must ensure that
- any smoke alarm is correctly installed and in working condition; and
- any smoke alarm is tested according to the manufacturer’s instructions at least once every 12 months; and
- the batteries in each smoke alarm are replaced as required.
- The rental provider must immediately arrange for a smoke alarm to be repaired or replaced as an urgent repair if they are notified by the renter that it is not in working order. Nb: Repair or replacement of a hard-wired smoke alarm must be undertaken by a suitably qualified person.
- The residential rental provider, on or before the commencement of the residential rental agreement, must provide the renter with the following information in writing:
- information about how each smoke alarm in the rented premises operates
- information about how to test each smoke alarm in the rented premises;
- information about the renter’s obligations to not tamper with any smoke alarms and to report if a smoke alarm in the rented premises is not in working order.
- The renter must give written notice to the residential rental provider as soon as practicable after becoming aware that a smoke alarm in the rented premises is not in working order. Nb: Regulations made under the Building Act 1993 require smoke alarms to be installed in all residential buildings.
Compensation to tenants when selling
Tenants will be entitled to compensation for any sales inspection that occurs at the property during their tenancy.
Modifications without consent
Modifications that will be permitted to take place without the landlord’s consent are as follows:
- in a rental that is not a registered place (not heritage listed)
- installation of picture hooks or screws for wall mounts, shelves, or brackets on surfaces other than exposed brick or concrete walls; and
- installation of wall anchoring devices on surfaces other than exposed brick or concrete walls to secure items of furniture; and
- installation of LED light globes that do not require new light fittings; and
- installation of a water-efficient showerhead if the original shower head is retained; and
- installation of blind or cord anchors; and
- installation of security lights, alarm systems, or security cameras that
- do not impact on the privacy of neighbours;
- Example – A renter must not install a security camera or security light that directly faces a neighbouring property
- can be easily removed from the rented premises; and
- are not hardwired to the rented premises; and
- installation of hardware-mounted child safety gates on walls (other than exposed brick or concrete walls);
In all rented premises:
- installation of non-permanent window film for insulation reduced heat transfer or privacy; and
- installation of a wireless doorbell; and
- replacement of curtains if the original curtains are retained by the renter; and
- installation of adhesive child safety locks on drawers and doors; and
- installation of pressure mounted child safety gates; and
- installation of a lock on a letterbox.
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