Everything Surf Coast Rental Providers Need to Know About Victoria’s Rental Standards
Last year more than 130 reforms to rental laws came into effect in Victoria, including new compliance requirements for rental homes.
Here’s what landlords and property investors need to know.
Rental minimum standards
Rental home providers (landlords and property investors) must ensure that their property meets the minimum amenity, safety and privacy standards introduced in March 2021. Some of the standards are simply common sense; others are more involved and might require rental providers to take action to ensure their property is compliant.
- The property must be structurally sound and weatherproof.
- Every room must be free of damp and mould caused by the building’s structure.
- The home must meet the Building Code of Australia’s ventilation standards.
- Bathrooms must have a reasonable hot and cold water supply, a basin and a shower or a bath. Showerheads and taps must at least meet a 3-star Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) rating.
- Toilets also need to meet, at a minimum, a 3-star WELS rating, and they must be located in a room intended to be used as a toilet area.
- Kitchens must have a food preparation area, a sink with hot and cold water (with 3-star WELS rated taps), and a working stovetop with at least two burners. If the kitchen has an oven, it must be in good working order.
- If the property has a laundry, it must have hot and cold water.
- There must be either a fixed heater or an energy-efficient heater (2-star minimum) in good working order installed in the home’s main living area. This rule will be updated on 29
- March 2023, when an energy-efficient fixed heater in the main living space will be mandatory for all rental homes. If the rental home is an apartment or a unit, and it’s not feasible to install an energy-efficient heater (because of strata rules, for example, or the excessive cost), the energy efficiency requirement won’t apply, but a fixed heater will still be required.
- All external entry doors (except screen doors attached to exterior doors) must be fitted with a functioning deadlatch. If they cannot be secured with a deadlatch, they must at least be equipped with a lock that works with a key from the outside and may be locked from the inside with or without a key. This rule doesn’t apply to front doors that open onto common property, such as the entrance to an apartment building.
- All windows capable of having a lock fitted must have a lock provided. If a window is not capable of having a lock fitted, it must have a latch to ensure it cannot be opened from the outside. External windows capable of opening must be able to be set in an open and closed position.
- All windows in the living area and the bedrooms must have coverings that provide privacy and block light.
- Interior rooms and corridors must have appropriate lighting, whether artificial or natural.
- Any habitable rooms, such as bedrooms, living rooms and studies, must have access to both natural and artificial light.
- Vermin proof bins, supplied by the local council and compliant with their regulations, must be provided.
- From 29 March 2023, rental homes must have electrical safety switches installed.
Mandatory safety checks
As well as ensuring their property meets the minimum standards for rental homes, rental providers are also obliged to carry out certain safety-related checks on their property. They include:
- Gas safety check. An inspection of all gas installations and fittings must be carried out every two years by a gasfitter with Type A gas appliance servicing qualifications.
- Electrical safety check. A licensed electrician must carry out an electrical safety check every two years.
Records must be kept for both gas and electrical safety checks until the next safety check is performed. These records must be provided to the renter on request.
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- Smoke alarm check. Smoke alarms must be inspected to ensure they are installed and in working order at least once a year. Renters, for their part, must not deactivate, remove or interfere with smoke alarms unless it is reasonable to do so, and if they become aware that a smoke alarm isn’t working, they must give written notice to the rental providers.
- Swimming pool barrier safety check. Rental providers must make sure that any swimming pool barrier is kept in good repair in accordance with building regulations. Faulty pool fences are considered an urgent repair. Renters, meanwhile, must not erect a relocatable swimming pool without prior written notice to the rental providers and obtainment of any necessary approvals.
- Bushfire water tanks. Owners of rental properties in designated bushfire prone areas must make sure any water tank (and its associated equipment) required for fire fighting is kept in good repair. The tank(s) and equipment must be full and clean at the start of the rental agreement.
How can rental providers and property investors ensure their rental home is compliant?
Not sure if your investment property meets the updated standards or how to manage the new safety checks? Talk to your property manager. A good property manager will be fully across the revised standards and requirements and able to talk through with you how they relate to your property. They’ll also have a network of reliable and reputable local tradespeople able to carry out any necessary works or safety checks to bring your property up to standard.
For more advice or guidance about the ins and outs of rental property management on the Surf Coast, please feel free to get in touch. We’re here to help.