THE Victorian Government last week announced the introduction of the Residential Tenancies Amendment (Long-Term Tenancy Agreements) Bill 2017 to State Parliament, which paves the way for new long-term tenancy agreements and an online matching service for landlords and tenants.
Currently, the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 only covers rental agreements of up to five years. The Bill will amend the Act to remove the existing restrictions on its application to tenancy agreements for a fixed term of more than 5 years.
The Bill will also enable the prescription in regulations of an optional alternative standard agreement or agreements containing terms and conditions suited to long-term tenancy agreements. To support the changes, an online matching service will also be created to connect tenants and landlords interested in long-term leases.
The Victorian Budget 2017-18 provided $1.25 million over four years to establish the matching service and develop the new standard long-term tenancy agreement, which is expected to be implemented by the end of the year.
Premier Daniel Andrews said long term leases will give tenants the stability, certainty and time they need to make their house into a home. He said the initiative is part of the government's comprehensive strategy to make housing more secure and affordable for Victorian families.
The changes form part of the Victorian Government's 'Homes for Victorians' packages, which was released earlier this year with a range of programs and initiatives to support first home buyers, private renters and social housing organisations. These included:
- Abolishing stamp duty for first time buyers on homes up to $600,000 and cuts to stamp duty on homes valued up to $750,000;
- Doubling the First Home Owner Grant to $20,000 in Regional Victoria to make it easier for people to build and stay in their community; and
- Creating the opportunity for first home buyers to co-purchase their home with the Victorian Government.
More information is available from the Victorian Government's 'Homes for Victorians' website at <http://www.vic.gov.au/affordablehousing>.