A Rent.com.au survey has found that the Victorian government’s proposed changes to improve tenant rights are welcomed, but 85 per cent of renters still think landlords are ‘too powerful’.
The Rent.com.au Changes to Victorian Tenancy Law Survey drew responses from Victorian-based renters and revealed that 81 per cent of renters feel the changes are ‘positive and long overdue’.
The survey focused on what importance renters placed on proposed changes to tenancy law such as reducing the size of bonds and introducing long-term leases, and how renters felt about their position and role within the rental market.
In a bid to give tenants a ‘fairer deal,’ VIC Premier Daniel Andrews’ government revealed changes to improve tenant rights, including reducing the size of bonds and introducing long term leases in an announcement on Sunday, October 8.
Key findings of the survey include:
- Strong Support for the proposed reforms, over 81% indicating the changes were positive and long overdue
- Transparency on lease terms was the most favoured change, but all initiatives ranked strongly
- The majority of renters still feel inequity in terms of their relationship with the Landlord
- Over half of the respondents felt uncomfortable approaching their landlord for fear of being seen as troublesome
- 76% of renters feel they do not have the power to make their voice heard
- 70% of respondents said they felt their concerns had been addressed in the latest announcement
- Given the option, the ability to hang pictures is the most common modification (54%) Victorian renters would like to make on their property
- 81 per cent of respondents said they felt rental bidding apps would hinder their chances of landing a property, rather than help
- 45 per cent of renters felt the announcement did not go far enough to secure long-term leases for Victorian tenants
- 67 per cent of renters are not comfortable asking their landlord for a longer lease, pets or minor modifications to their rental.
Respondents in the October survey rated the following announcement points in order of importance from Most Important to Least Important: (respondents were asked the level of importance they felt each of the announced changes were on a scale from Most Important (1) to Indifferent (3) and then Least Important (5).)
- Transparency on lease terms (average rating 1.38);
- A ban on rental bidding apps (average rating 1.38);
- The introduction of a landlord and estate agent blacklist available to renters (average rating 1.39);
- Faster reimbursements for tenants who pay for urgent repairs (average rating 1.44);
- Long-term lease security (the abolishment of ‘no specific reason’ notices to vacate) (average rating 1.46);
- A new Commissioner for Residential Tenancies set up to help champion the rights of Victorian renters (average rating 1.48);
- The faster release of bonds at the end of a tenancy (average rating 1.57);
- Rental bonds will be capped at one month’s rent where the rent is twice the current median weekly rent (average rating 1.58); and • The right to own a pet in your rental property (average rating 1.80).
Rent.com.au CEO Greg Bader said: “Strong response across the board, we as a community need to get our heads around the fact that nearly a third of us rent and that number is growing – we need to lose the stigma around renting, for many it is a logical choice that suits their current circumstances, the process needs to be easier, less intimidating and more equitable.”