Rent.com.au, Australia’s Number 1 website dedicated to rental property, has surveyed its user base to gauge the level of support for the “Make Renting Fair” initiative announced by the Victorian Government.

Photo: iStock/danchooalex.

Proposed changes to Victorian tenancy laws announced by the Andrews Labor Government earlier this month have been welcomed by renters, but some doubt still lingers, a new survey reveals. 

The Rent.com.au Changes to Victorian Tenancy Law Survey drew 474 responses from Victorian-based renters and revealed that 81 per cent of renters feel the changes are ‘positive and long overdue’.

However, 85 per cent of renters still think that landlords have too much power, with 76 per cent of Victorian renters believing they have no power to make their voices heard.

The Survey also revealed that 67 per cent of renters are not comfortable asking their landlord for a longer lease, pets or minor modifications to their rental.

Overview of Proposed Tenancy Reforms

With more than 25% of Victorians renting their homes, Premier Daniel Andrews announced a range of proposed reforms on Sunday, October 8.

The announcement includes several reforms that Rent.com.au has been advocating for, in particular the changes to improve long-term security which Rent.com.au has previously discussed with the Victorian Government. Lease security and lack of transparency were cited as the number one issues in an earlier nationwide survey of renters conducted by Rent.com.au in September 2016 and are, unsurprisingly, the changes most favoured by renters according to the latest survey.

Rent.com.au Chief Executive Officer, Greg Bader, said that society still unfairly stereotyped renters but that this perception was changing rapidly.

“As a community we need to get our heads around the fact that almost one in three of us rents our home and this number is growing all the time,” said Mr Bader. “While a lot of debate focuses on housing affordability, and no doubt in some areas house prices are a real driver, we are also seeing more and more people renting as a logical and deliberate choice for a variety of reasons.”

“Renters are also a lot savvier, or perhaps just less willing to put up with a sub-standard arrangement. Our customers overwhelmingly support these changes which if enacted, will address some of the imbalance that has existed in the past”.

The reforms proposed by the Victorian Government include:

  • A ban on rental bidding apps;
  • Long-term lease security;
  • The right to own a pet in your rental property;
  • Minor property modifications made easier;
  • Faster reimbursements for tenants who pay for urgent repairs;
  • Rental bonds will be capped;
  • The faster release of bonds at the end of a tenancy;
  • The introduction of a landlord and estate agent blacklist available to renters; and
  • A new Commissioner for Residential Tenancies to be appointed

Survey Results

What are your thoughts on the proposed changes to tenancy laws?

Do landlords in Victoria have too much power?

Would bidding apps improve or hinder your chances?

Renters were well aware of the proposed reforms with 68% of renters saying they were aware of the announcement and the vast majority (81%) welcomed the proposals. A similar proportion of renters feel that landlords have too much power and also felt that bidding apps would hinder their chances of finding a suitable rental property.

“Bidding apps are topical now with several local and US start-ups proposing to enter the market. Apps that are designed to drive up the rental prices only focus on one dimension and don’t benefit the market. We know that landlords are willing to actually reduce the rent in exchange for a good, stable tenant,” said Mr Bader.

“Matching landlords with good renters who can sign up to transparent and secure leases makes sense for both parties but some of the economics in the industry don’t favour that.”

Which of the proposed reforms is most important to you?

Renting tenure by age group

Modifications renters would like to make

The renters that provided the feedback were experienced renters with more than half having rented for longer than 5 years. Almost two thirds were aged between 25 and 54, yet most (67%) were somewhat or very uncomfortable discussing with their landlords such matters as longer leases, pets and minor modifications such as hanging pictures.

Finally, we asked renters what they would like to change about their rental property. As you can imagine, the response to this question was quite wide ranging and we aren’t able to print all responses, but if we filter out physical instructions to Agents and Landlords and focus just on practical improvements that the renter would like to be able to make to the property, we see the following:

Note: Two Rent.com.au surveys are currently live and drawing responses from renters in all states excluding Victoria, as well as Victorian landlords and agents. Results will be released within the next week.

For further information, or to organise an interview, please contact:

Daniel Paproth
Media & Capital Partners
p: +61 421 858 982
a: Level 6, 470 Collins St, Melbourne, VIC
e: [email protected]

Rent.com.au

Rent.com.au is Australia's largest company dedicated to renters and is owned and operated by ASX-listed Rent.com.au Limited (RNT:ASX). For over 15 years, Rent.com.au has exclusively focused on making renters' lives easier by making it easier to find a property, secure it, move in and pay rent.

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