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State’s crackdown on dodgy landlords

RENTAL INSPECTION
A dodgy landlord crackdown in Victoria will target rent bidding, advertising and the structural integrity of houses. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Diego Fedele

Dodgy landlords have been put on notice by the Victorian government, with a new taskforce announced to help enforce strict new laws.

False advertising, properties without a functional kitchen, lockable external doors, houses which are structurally unsound and not waterproof, and failing to lodge bonds are some of the offences in the crosshairs of the $4 million taskforce, announced on Thursday.

Minister for Consumer Affairs Gabrielle Williams said most rental providers and estate agents did the right thing, but that Thursday’s announcement sent a clear message to those trying to get away with rental offences.

MELBOURNE RENTAL CRISIS
Laws banning rent bidding in Victoria took effect in 2021. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Ian Currie

Landlords and agents who let someone move into a home below minimum standards face maximum penalties of more than $11,000 for individuals and over $57,000 for companies.

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Extra intelligence analysts, inspectors, investigators and lawyers will use information and market analysis to boost monitoring of rental campaigns, conduct targeted inspections and act on identified breaches, done so from within Consumer Affairs Victoria.

Premier Presser
Consumer Affairs Minister Gabrielle Williams has announced $4 million for a new rental compliance taskforce. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Wayne Taylor

Despite rent bidding being illegal, NCA NewsWire has been told by real estate sources the practice still occurs in Melbourne.

In a statement released after the taskforce was announced, Tenants Victoria said while the state had “some of the better tenancy regulation in the nation”, rental reform remains an unfinished business and the power imbalance between landlords and renters persists.

“The reality is that the conduct of landlords and agents is a common complaint and source of frustration for renters. The stress has only intensified amid the current rental crisis,” Tenants Victoria chief executive Jennifer Beveridge said.

The beefed up enforcement of rental laws was an encouraging step, Ms Beveridge said.