New Minimum Standards for Rental Properties

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New Minimum Standards for Rental Properties

 

As of the 29th of March 2021, the largest changes to the Residential Tenancies Act since the Act began take effect.  There is a lot of misinformation going around and we have been training hard to ensure we are across all of the changes.

 

Today we are going to tackle the new Minimum Standards for a rental property that have come into effect. There are 14 minimum standards and they are as follows:

New Minimum Standards as of 29th March 2021

1.     LOCKS – The REIV are still seeking clarification on the minimum requirement for locks as they are stipulating deadlocks in their legislation but then describe a deadlock as a single barrel lock.  A single barrel lock would be a standard entrance set with a key lock to the front and a button or twist knob to the rear.  As soon as we have further clarification on this we will let you know.  If the property has a security door that can be locked, this also complies as a deadlock.

2.     VERMIN PROOF BINS – the tenant (now called ‘Renter’) must be provided with a vermin proof bin.  A standard council bin complies with this requirement.

3.     TOILET – a rental property must have a fully functioning toilet

4.     BATHROOM – a rental property must have a fully functioning bathroom.  The bathroom must have hot & cold water and a bath or shower.  The shower head should be 3 star rated or better.

5.     KITCHEN – the rental property must have a kitchen with a food preparation area (benchtop), and hot & cold water.  The kitchen must also have a cooktop with a minimum of 2 burners and a working oven.

6.      LAUNDRY – the rental property must have a laundry with hot & cold water available

7.      STRUCTURALLY SOUND & WEATHERPROOF – this has not been fully clarified but we understand this to mean that the property has to be safe and water tight.  We do not believe this means you need to have a Structural Engineer assess your property but that if there are obvious structural issues or repairs that are required, that they need to be fixed.  The property also needs to be watertight with no leaks.

8.      MOULD FREE – the property is not to have mould or excessive dampness.  Mould is taken very seriously and needs to be addressed early on.  The new disclosure laws mean that a potential new tenant needs to be informed prior to accepting the property, that there has been a mould issue in the past, even if it has been treated.  Some mould is caused by poor ventilation being available and sometime by tenants not turning on exhaust fans or opening windows as required.  This can be addressed at routine inspections.

9.       ELECTRICAL – This will potentially be an expense for some of the older properties in the portfolio.  As of March 29, 2023 all properties must have circuit breakers for each outlet and Residual Current Devices installed (safety switches).  This should be fine for most newer properties, but could post issues in older properties.  Our advice would be, if you have an older property and conduct any electrical work between now and March 2023, get the electrician to check the meter box for compliance while they are there.  This could avoid a callout fee and let you prepare for any works that need to be carried out.

          10. WINDOW COVERINGS – from 29th March 2022 all rental properties must have blinds or curtains in all living areas and bedrooms.  These window coverings must be capable of blocking light and providing privacy.

11  WINDOWS – external windows must be able to be secured from external access.  The REIV are also waiting on clarification on this point as well as it appears that any form of catch or latch will suffice, it does not appear that there needs to be a lockable solution

           12. LIGHTING – interior rooms, hallways and corridors need to have access to either natural light, artificial light or both.  Habitable rooms need to have access to natural light during daylight hours (even if this is shared light from another room), they also need access to artificial lighting during non-daylight hours.               

      13. VENTILATION – each habitable room, bathroom, shower room, toilet & laundry, must have ventilation in line with the BCA code.  Effectively, this means that they must have adequate ventilation through an opening window, vent or exhaust fan.    

       14. HEATING – all rental properties need to have a functioning heater in the main living area.  If a new heater is installed after March 29, 2021, it must be an energy efficient heater with a minimum of a 2 star rating.  As far as we are aware, an electric panel heater mounted to a wall would suffice at a minimum.

All in all, the bulk of these changes will not have a large impact on the standard homes we manage in and around Bacchus Marsh.  These changes will have far more effect in areas with older properties such as Ballarat.

If you have any queries about any of this information, please feel free to contact your Property Manager

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