Long-term renters in Victoria could soon feel a little more secure in their homes following an announcement that the state government is developing a long-term standard tenancy agreement for leases of more than five years.
The move comes as rising cost of housing pushes people into long-term rental, with one in five having been in their homes for more than five years. However at present there is little security of tenure, with most people on fixed short-term leases of six or 12 months, and many on periodic tenancy, exposed to being evicted with just four weeks’ notice.
The government said as well as providing greater security for tenants, long-term leases would also provide stability to landlords thanks to a more steady income source.
“More than 25 per cent of Victorians rent. They should be able to have the security that comes with a long-term lease, and that’s exactly what we’re doing,” consumer affairs minister Marlene Kairouz said.
“This is about giving Victorian renters and landlords the security they need – the ability to lease a property long-term and a way to help renters find their future home.”
The government said it would work with stakeholders to develop the new standard tenancy agreement, which is to be implemented in 2018.
“Raising a family is stressful enough without worrying about whether you need to move every 12 months. Long-term leases will end that uncertainty,” Victorian premier Daniel Andrews said.
“There are 884,000 Victorians who rent, or own a rental property. This change will give renters the chance to put down roots and landlords a more certain income.”
The government is also working on updating the Residential Tenancies Act, where there are plans to make it easier for tenants to keep pets, put an end to lease terminations without cause, and limit rent increases to once per year.
The moves have been welcomed by tenants unions but opposed by the Real Estate Institute of Victoria.