Information before you rent
The terms landlord and tenant no longer appear in the Residential Tenancies Act 1997. Instead, they are now called residential rental provider (landlord), which we shorten to rental provider, and renter (tenant).
Agents and rental providers now must give the renter specific information about the property before it is rented. This should help renters decide whether they want to go ahead with their application.
Before signing the agreement, the agent or rental provider must tell the renter:
- If they are intending on selling the property
- If they are not the owner, that they have the right to rent out the property
- If they have a mortgage over the property, whether any action is being taken by the lender to take possession of the property
- If there is an embedded energy network – the name and contact details, and where to find details of the electricity charges. An embedded energy network is a joint supplier to all the apartments in a development
- If there has been a homicide on the property in the last 5 years
- If the property complies with new rental minimum standards
- If the rental provider has received a repair notice for mould or damp related to the building structure within the last 3 years. This will only apply from 21 December 2021
- The date of the most recent safety checks, for gas, electrical safety and pool barrier compliance, and any outstanding recommendations for work on the property’s gas or electricity
- If the property is heritage listed
- If the rental provider knows about:
- Contamination because of drug trafficking or cultivation on the property within the last 5 years
- Asbestos found after inspection by a qualified inspector
- A building or planning application lodged about the property
- Any notice, report or order about a building defect or safety concern
- A current building work dispute
- An owners’ corporation dispute
The agent or rental provider must provide:
- A copy of any owners’ corporation rules applying to the property
- A statement about discrimination, which sets out examples of discrimination and lists the grounds for which an estate agent or rental provider cannot discriminate against you.
Things you cannot be asked
Agents and rental providers cannot ask you for certain information when you apply to rent.
They cannot ask:
- If you have been involved in legal action or a dispute with a rental provider
- About your previous bond history, including if you had a claim made against you
- For bank statements with your daily transactions
- Information that may allow them to discriminate against you, unless the reasons for asking for this information is required and explained in writing. For example, they cannot ask about your sexuality, whether you have children, whether you have a disability, or about your nationality or religion
Use of your information
Information that you give a rental provider or agent can only be used for the purpose for which you gave it – that is, applying for the property.
Terms no longer used on leases
Some terms can no longer be included in the rental agreement, or lease.
These include any terms that:
- Require you to indemnify the rental provider
- Stop you claiming compensation because the property was not available at the start of the rental agreement
- Require payment of rent in a way that results in you having to pay fees
- Require you to use a third-party service provider, except for an ‘embedded energy network provider’ where power is supplied jointly, such as to all apartments in a building
- Make you responsible for, or make you pay for, any safety related maintenance that is the rental provider’s responsibility
- Make you pay for the rental provider’s costs of applying to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT)
- Make you pay for an insurance excess paid by the rental provider for a landlord insurance policy
- Make you pay fixed fees to end your agreement, unless the way these are calculated are in the rental agreement