Cracking down on dodgy rentals


The state government is establishing a new renting taskforce to crack down on rental providers and estate agents who do the wrong thing, including those in Sunbury and Macedon Ranges.

Despite more than 130 rental reforms in 2021, the state government said some rental providers are still trying to get away with poor conduct.

Consumer Affairs Minister Gabrielle Williams announced a dedicated taskforce to send a clear message to rental providers that rental offences will not be tolerated.

It will be cracking down on offences like false advertising, renting out properties that don’t meet minimum standards, and not lodging bonds.

“Most rental providers and estate agents do the right thing,” Ms Williams said. “[This] announcement is about sending a clear message to those trying to get away with rental offences.

“It’s been almost three years since our landmark package of over 130 rental reforms took effect, and… we are making the rental market fairer for everyone by establishing the renting taskforce.”

Backed by a $4 million investment, the renting taskforce will operate in a similar way to the successful underquoting taskforce.

It will use intelligence and market analysis to boost monitoring of rental campaigns, conduct targeted inspections and act on identified breaches. It will scale up operations throughout 2024.

The taskforce will be embedded within Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) and will employ extra intelligence analysts, inspectors, investigators and lawyers.

CAV will also build on its existing services and make it easier for the public to report potential unlawful conduct to its intelligence team and upload evidence like photos through its website.

The rental minimum standards include things that people would reasonably expect in a home- like a functional kitchen, lockable external doors, and being structurally sound and waterproof.

Letting a new renter move into a rental property that doesn’t meet these standards is a criminal offence, with maximum penalties of more than $11,000 for individuals and more than $57,000 for companies.

The government said it is also establishing Rental Dispute Resolution Victoria and delivering a Rental Stress Support Package to support tenants doing it tough.