After you have inspected the property, you may want to apply to rent it.
Things you cannot be asked
A rental provider, or their agent, are not allowed to ask you about some matters when you apply for a rental property. These are:
- If you have previously been involved in legal action or dispute with a rental provider, such as going to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT)
- Questions about your bond history, including whether a claim has ever been made against your bond
- Credit card or bank statements that contain your daily transactions
- Any information about you that could be discriminatory, under Section 6 of the Equal Opportunity Act 2010, unless you have been given written reason why the information is required [section 30C]
If you are asked any of these things you can report the rental provider, or agent, to Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) which can issue an infringement notice on the rental provider or agent if they have failed to follow the law.
How your information can be used
The rental provider or real estate agent can only use your personal information to assess your suitability as a renter or for a legitimate reason under the Residential Tenancies Act 1997. They cannot use your personal information for any other reason. For example, they cannot sell your contact details or use your contact details to send you promotional material [section 30B].
If the rental provider or agent uses your information for any other reason you can report them to Consumer Affairs Victoria, which can issue an infringement notice on the rental provider or agent if they have failed to follow the law.
It is illegal for a rental provider or real estate agent to discriminate against you on the grounds of certain ‘protected’ personal characteristics when you are applying for, occupying or leaving a property [section 30A].
These personal characteristics, which are listed in the Equal Opportunity Act 2010, include:
- Disability, including physical, sensory or intellectual disability or mental illness
- Employment activity or industrial activity, including union activity
- Legal sexual activity or sexual orientation or erased homosexual conviction
- Gender identity or sex or intersex status
- Marital status
- Being a parent or carer or being pregnant or breastfeeding
- Religious beliefs or political beliefs or activity
- Any relationship or connection with anyone with the above characteristics
From 29 March, 2021, when new rental laws came in, any application form for a rental property must include a statement about unlawful discrimination, including examples of the protected personal characteristics [section 29C]. Follow the link below to the Consumer Affairs Victoria website for a copy of the statement.
It is illegal for a rental provider or agent to discriminate against renters with children.
However, the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 allows a rental provider or agent to refuse to allow children to live in a rental property if:
- The rental provider lives in the same property
- The property is unsuitable for children
- The government has provided the property exclusively for single people or childless couples [section 30]
If you think that you have been discriminated against, you can lodge a complaint with the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission online or by calling 1300 292 153.
You may also be able to apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) for compensation. See our page Compensation for renters.
For more information contact us, your local Tenancy Assistance and Advocacy Program (TAAP) service, Tenancy Plus provider, community legal centre or Victoria Legal Aid.