Andrew Heaton

Victoria is set for rental agreements lasting five or more years as the government moves to overhaul real estate tenancy laws.

In a joint statement, Victorian premier Daniel Andrews and Consumer Affairs Minister Marlene Kairouz have announced that the government in that state will work with key stakeholders to develop a new standard tenancy agreements which will cover leases of longer than five years.

A website listing all rental advertisements of five years or longer will also be established. Premier Andrews said the move will enable landlords and tenants to enter into arrangements which deliver greater certainty to each party.

He says the current short term nature of the rental market fails to provide adequately levels of security for those who rent whilst attempting to raise a family.

“Raising a family is stressful enough without worrying about whether you need to move every 12 months,” Andrews said. “Long-term leases will end that uncertainty. There are 884,000 Victorians who rent, or own a rental property. This change will give renters the chance to put down roots and landlords a more certain income.”

The latest announcement comes as Victoria is undergoing a fundamental review of tent laws and regulations. The review is aimed at modernising and improving the legislation as well as recommending suitable changes.

Around Australia, the prevalence of relatively short term rental contracts has been a cause for concern for concern on the part of some in terms of the lack of stability it delivers particularly from the viewpoint of tenants – a particularly important concern in light of the growing number of families for whom rent is the only viable option in an expensive housing.

Many rental agreements initially last for six to twelve months before reverting to a monthly basis. Tenants Union of Victoria chief executive officer Yaelle Caspi welcomed the announcement, but said that more needed to be done to provide security for tenants including the abolition of landlord abilities to evict tenants without reason.