Victoria owners corporation industry and legislation updates

Find the latest updates and changes on Victorian community living and changes impacting owners corporations

The timeline below summarises relevant legislative and industry changes affecting strata stakeholders in Victoria. It includes helpful links and further reading to help you understand Victori legislative changes.

May 2024

Petition to amend the Owners Corporations Act 2006

A drive for stronger short-term accommodation regulations

A group of Victorian residents has taken a stand to address a growing issue within owners corporations, requesting amendments to the Owners Corporations Act 2006. Firmly advocating for change, the petition circulating amongst residents calls to bring attention to the growing concern around short-term accommodations (STAs) offered through platforms like Airbnb, which is shaking up the status quo in Victoria.


The problem:

These STAs are increasingly being misused as unofficial party venues, leading to disturbances and raising safety concerns for homeowners. Despite over 50 cases filed against STAs since 2019, the existing laws have proven ineffective, with no fines or suspensions on record. This has resulted in VCAT, local government, and Victoria Police having to step in to address persistent issues like regular parties, antisocial behaviour, and noise that disrupts residents’ peaceful living.


The petition:

The petitioners advocate for the right to have a say over their buildings. The petition calls for modifications to specific sections of the Owners Corporation Act 2006, which currently lacks strength compared to the regulations set in place by other major tourist destinations with similar issues.

These proposed reforms will help provide homeowners the authority to democratically limit or ban short-term rentals within their building through a 75 per cent vote in favour. This change could minimise expensive legal fees and drawn-out proceedings homeowners currently face.


Please click the link below to learn more about the petition and proposed changes to the Owners Corporation Act 2006.

May 2024

Rental regulation ramp-up

Hefty fines for non-compliant landlords

In 2023, Consumer Affairs Victoria found that complaints about poorly maintained rentals ranked amongst the top five issues reported. This concerning trend prompted a stern response from the Victorian government.


Mandatory rental standards: what landlords need to know

Under the Residential Tenancies Regulations 2021 (Schedule 4), the minimum standards apply to any rental agreement that either began on or after 29 March 2021 or became a month-to-month (periodic) agreement on or after the same date.

To help protect tenants, the minimum requirements that landlords should abide by are set out across 14 specific categories:

  • Bathrooms: rentals need a washbasin and a bath or shower with hot and cold water. 3-star rated showerheads are preferred; however, a 1-2 star rating is acceptable for older properties.
  • Electrical safety: from 29 March 2023, rentals should have modern switchboards with circuit breakers and safety switches. An electrician must confirm compliance.
  • Heating: Starting 29 March 2023, rentals should have modern switchboards with circuit breakers and safety switches that are compliant with safety standards.
  • Kitchen: rentals must have a dedicated kitchen space, a functional sink, a stovetop with at least two burners and, if present, a working oven. Heritage-listed properties may be exempt.
  • Laundry: rentals with laundry areas must have a reliable hot and cold water source.
  • Lighting: all indoor areas in rentals should have adequate natural or artificial lighting.
  • Locks: external entry doors should have operational deadlocks. Some exceptions apply, like Heritage Act 2017 registered properties with exemptions.
  • Mould and damp: rentals should be free of structural mould and dampness.
  • Structural Soundness: rentals must be structurally secure and weather-resistant.
  • Toilets: Functional toilets connected to approved sewage systems are mandatory for rentals.
  • Ventilation: rentals should have adequate ventilation in habitable rooms as per the Building Code of Australia.
  • Vermin-proof bins: Landlords must provide vermin-resistant rubbish and recycling bins.
  • Windows: external windows must have working latches and be operable.
  • Window Coverings: in bedrooms and living areas, windows must have functional curtains or blinds for privacy and light-blocking.


Click here to learn more about the minimum standards for rental properties. For more specific details, reference the rental properties minimum standards checklist.


Steep Penalties for Non-Compliance

Under the Residential Tenancies Act 1997, any landlord not adhering to the set minimum standards can face severe financial and legal repercussions. Fines for individuals can escalate to over $11,000, while companies may be looking at penalties of over $57,000. The message to rental providers is clear: the provision of safe and habitable accommodation is a non-negotiable obligation.

If a rental property fails to meet the minimum standards, the renter has certain rights, including when the rental provider neglects to repair the property. The newly established regulations aim to protect renters’ rights in these instances, solidifying a commitment to maintaining safe and acceptable living conditions in rental properties.

February 2024

RentAssist bond loan

 A helping hand for Victorian renters

Introduced by Housing Victoria, the RentAssist initiative offers an interest-free bond loan designed to support private renters by helping lessen the burden of upfront security deposits. As a property owner in Victoria, you can offer valuable advice to prospective tenants about the financial support available, such as the RentAssist bond loan.

A bond is a security deposit that tenants pay before moving into a property. This deposit is held securely by the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority and returned in full at the end of the lease unless there are claims for damages or unpaid rent.

Remember, these loans cater exclusively to bonds. For support with moving costs or advance rent, prospective tenants may qualify for help from the Housing Establishment Fund.

Prospective tenants must satisfy the department’s eligibility criteria to be eligible for a bond loan. They would be considered suitable for a bond loan if they meet the income and asset eligibility limits, have a permanent Australian resident status, and their share of the rent is under 55% of their gross weekly income. They do not own or co-own a house, flat, or unit. Some exemptions to these rules may apply and can be clarified by the local housing office.

A bond loan or debt to the department from a previous or ongoing public housing tenancy will not affect RentAssist Bond Loan assistance eligibility.

Being informed and leveraging these resources can help equip renters and potential tenants to manage their financial obligations effectively.

Click the link to learn more about the eligibility, repayments, borrowing capacity, and application requirements for the RentAssit bond loan initiative.

February 2024

Reimaging the future of Victoria’s housing

A shift towards compact city design

Recent findings in a study by Infrastructure Victoria encourage a shift towards adopting a compact and connected design for urban cities. Infrastructure Victoria’s latest research, ‘Choosing Victoria’s future: 5 urban development scenarios’, advocates that Victorians benefit more from closer living in the capital and regional cities, providing easier access to existing jobs, services, and infrastructure.

Infrastructure Victoria has proposed a comprehensive overhaul of housing and infrastructure strategies, including setting housing targets in established suburbs, revising developers’ infrastructure payments, eliminating the first home buyers grant and stamp duty, and improving resilient electricity infrastructure.

Dr. Jonathan Spear, the Chief Executive Officer at Infrastructure Victoria, raises concerns about the potential adverse effects if we don’t take decisive steps towards reshaping our urban environments. Presently, city growth is inclined towards the creation of new suburbs on the city outskirts, which could result in a decrease in Victorians’ living standards. However, the report indicates it’s not too late to reroute this course.

The advantages of denser cities extend beyond individuals and communities, offering added environmental benefits and preserving more space for farming and wildlife habitats. In contrast, a sprawling city could consume 30,000 hectares of land.

To achieve a compact and connected Victoria, five key recommendations were proposed around:
1. Implementing housing targets
2. Creating long-term infrastructure plans
3. Reforming infrastructure contributions
4. Planning for local infrastructure in regional centres
5. Promoting low-carbon materials in construction.

Read on to learn more about the shift to encourage diverse housing options in prime locations to prepare for growth through strategic land use and infrastructure plans.

November 2023

The debate over micro-apartments

A fix for Melbourne’s housing shortage or a pathway to overcrowding?

The future of affordable housing in Melbourne could be taking a compact turn with apartments less than 25 square metres, community spaces replacing private balconies, and no parking facilities.

A proposed residential project in Brunswick hopes to bring the tiny living concept, popular in cities like New York and Hong Kong, to Melbourne. The proposal has divided the Merri-bek City Council, with supporters seeing it as a solution to the housing crisis and sceptics fearing it may set lower living standards for future housing.

Despite initial refusal, the developers of the proposed Cysur building on Albert Street have now been granted a planning permit. This development brings to the forefront a pressing debate on the balance between affordability and quality of life in Melbourne’s housing market.

Read more to delve into the discussions surrounding micro-apartment viability as a solution to affordable housing in Melbourne.

November 2023

Australia’s first short-term rental levy

A new era for short-stay accommodation

Starting in 2025, the Victorian Government will implement a 7.5% levy on revenues generated by short-stay accommodation providers, such as Airbnb and Stayz.

This state-wide initiative, the first of its kind across Australia, is designed to raise funds to aid Homes Victoria in constructing more social and affordable housing.


Victoria’s housing crisis strategy

The burgeoning popularity of short-stay rental platforms has led to a decrease in the availability of properties for long-term use. With this levy, the government aims to balance the thriving short-term rental market and the increasing demand for affordable, long-term housing solutions.

While this levy might seem like a significant change, it’s worth noting that the revenue collected from this levy will be used to support the construction of social and affordable housing across the state.


Impact on short-term letting

While the policy has been welcomed as a boost for housing construction, Airbnb and the Victoria Tourism Industry Council have raised concerns. They fear that the 7.5% rate could negatively impact Victoria’s appeal as a tourism destination and discourage overnight stays in regional areas.


What does this mean for owners corporations?

Tax experts warn that the levy might make operating short-term rentals more expensive for landlords. The increased costs may be passed onto consumers without necessarily alleviating the rental crisis. These concerns should be noted by owners corporations, who should closely monitor these trends and be ready to adapt their strategies if necessary. as they could potentially affect the demand and pricing for short-stay rentals.


In conclusion, while the new levy introduces a new layer of financial consideration for owners corporations, it is a step towards a balanced housing market. The key will be to stay informed, plan, and communicate effectively with all stakeholders for a smooth transition when the new rules occur.

For more information on the new short-term rental levy and its impact on the rental landscape, click the link to delve deeper into the story.

November 2023

Looking to go solar?

New government partnership set to benefit up to 5,000 apartments with solar energy

Householders from up to 5,000 apartments across Victoria can soon look forward to reaping the benefits of solar energy. This development comes from a new $16 million partnership between the Victorian and Commonwealth Governments, aimed at improving access to solar for apartment buildings.

This groundbreaking partnership, scheduled for implementation later this year, will be executed by Solar Victoria to help eliminate hurdles associated with installing solar panels on apartment buildings. Grants, explicitly targeted at owners’ corporations, will be made available, with up to $2,800 per apartment and coverage for up to 50 apartments per building.

This initiative aims to simplify the process. By making funding available to owners’ corporations, the program will significantly increase the number of renters and lower-income Victorians who can reap the benefits of affordable solar energy. Installation of solar panels can help residents save on their energy bills, particularly heating costs, which are among the most significant energy expenses in most homes.

The program is currently in its design phase, in consultation with key stakeholders. It is expected to open to applications in late 2023, when information about eligibility criteria, application process, and program requirements will be communicated.

Click the link below to learn more about this program and register for updates