The timeline below provides summaries of relevant legislative changes that impact Victoria’s community living.
29 March 2021: New renting regulations affecting owners come into effect
More than 100 changes to renting regulations have been introduced, which aim to make renting fairer and safer in Victoria. The legislative update focuses on the rights and responsibilities of both landlords and renters, and the changes are applicable for every rental agreement’s lifespan.
Key changes impacting owners corporation property owners who rent out their lot include:
- Landlords must inform tenants if the property is on the market for sale or is being repossessed
- Landlords must provide tenants with at least one fee-free option for paying rent
- Renters must be given one free set of keys and security passes
- Landlords can only terminate a rental agreement if they provide a valid reason— they can no longer issue a “no specified reason” notice to vacate
- Landlords must ensure their property meets minimum rental standards. If it doesn’t, the renter can terminate the rental agreement.
3 September 2020: Update from Cladding Safety Victoria
The Cladding Safety Victoria Bill 2020 (Vic) (CSV Bill) was introduced to the Victorian Legislative Assembly on 3 September 2020 and given Royal Assent on 4 November 2020. Among its key points is giving homeowners an additional two years (up from 10) to pursue legal action against builders responsible for installing flammable cladding on their properties.
In summary, the CSV Bill will:
- establish Cladding Safety Victoria (CSV) as a separate organisation
- define how CSV will administer the cladding rectification program in Victoria
- extend the limitation period from 10 to 12 years for cladding building actions
- transfer the existing cladding rectification functions from the Victorian Building Authority to CSV.
May 2020: Temporary laws introduced to protect Victorian tenants and landlords from COVID-19 impacts
Victoria has passed temporary regulation to help mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on tenants and landlords. The temporary regulations put a moratorium on evictions, facilitate rent relief for eligible tenants, suspend rental increases, and have set up a new and free dispute resolution process. The temporary regulations also change how a tenant or landlord may end a tenancy during the six-month moratorium period.
Consumer Affairs Victoria is encouraging landlords and tenants to come to an agreement where rent reduction is needed. When an agreement cannot be met, they are also encouraging parties to utilise the new mediation service.
19 December 2019: SCA launch building guidelines to help minimise the incidence of defects
The industry body for owners corporation and community living, Strata Community Association (SCA), have launched new guidelines to help protect prospective owners from flammable cladding and major defects. The new guidelines specify that all building plans and lists of materials used, including manufacturer details and warranty information, must be handed over to owners or occupants before the final occupancy permit is issued.
SCA’s Victorian CEO, Maree Davenport, says the guidelines will become “A living document, passed from lot owner to lot owner, on-hand for occupants and committees and successive professional strata managers. It is a tool for compliance and essential safety measures, as well as maintenance and replacement of end-of-life, dangerous and recalled products.”
1 December 2019: New pool and spa registration and inspection requirements for Victoria
Victoria introduced swimming pool and spa safety laws on 1 December 2019. Owners are now required to register swimming pools and spas with local councils. The changes also include ushering in new inspection, maintenance and compliance requirements for properties with pools and spas.
2 August 2019: Cladding Safety Victoria CEO appointed
Dan O’Brien announced as CEO of Cladding Safety Victoria. Mr Obrien will lead the agency as it manages a $600 million-dollar program of rectification works and will make sure buildings comply with all regulations.
18 July 2019: Nation-wide agreement to improve building standards
A landmark agreement is reached at the Building Ministers Forum in Sydney. As a result, the Australian Building Codes Board will be expanded, better resourced and will push for greater engagement from the building industry (ABCB). The ABCB will be responsible for preparing a national framework to impose recommendations from the Shergold Weir Building Confidence report.
16 July 2019: Cladding rectification fund announcement
The Victorian government announces a world-first program to tackle high-risk cladding. The $600 million-dollar cladding rectification fund will fix cladding on at least 500 high-risk buildings. The program will be overseen by Cladding Safety Victoria. The funds will go towards:
- Project management support.
- Professional design services.
- Building surveying.
- Permits and approvals.
- Building materials and rectification works.
29 May 2019: Owners Corporations and Other Acts Amendment Bill exposure draft released
The Bill addresses various technical issues identified by Consumer Affairs Victoria and stands to impact laws that govern the establishment, operation, functions and powers of owners corporations in Victoria. You may share your opinions and feedback regarding the proposed reforms by 29 May 2019 before the Bill gets into parliament.
20 March 2019: Be cautious about CodeMark Certificates of Conformity
CodeMark Certificates of Conformity have been found to have certain limitations regarding for the installation and use of building materials. Recently, nine CodeMark certificates of conformity were withdrawn. If you’re responsible for designing buildings or issuing a building permit for construction, you should make note of any possible limitations, read all certificates carefully and scrutinise the Building Code of Australia requirements being certified by each Certificate.
6 March 2019: Victorian statewide cladding audit
On behalf of the Victorian Government, the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) conducted a statewide cladding audit. The findings were: 1070 buildings identified as having cladding with 500 of those classified as high risk.