New process to tackle dodgy rentals

social and affordable housing

VICTORIANS who suspect properties available for rent are being falsely advertised or do not meet minimum standards can now alert Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) directly through a new online complaint form.

Victorians looking for a rental property are urged to use the form to report concerns, a process that only takes about five minutes to complete and can be submitted anonymously.

Backed by the state government’s $4 million renting taskforce, the form will make it easier to report issues with properties being put up for rent – including inaccurate descriptions or images used to advertise the property, and breaches of rental minimum standards such as the lack of a functional kitchen or lockable external doors.

Big penalties will apply to estate agents and residential rental providers who do the wrong thing, with maximum penalties for individuals exceeding more than $11,000 and $57,000 for businesses.

Higher penalties can also apply under the Australian Consumer Law for misleading advertisements or other false representations.

Prospective renters, real estate professionals and others can all use the rental property report form after inspecting a property in person or online, allowing them to provide evidence of their complaint including uploading photos to show the difference between the property advertisement and the property at inspection.

Allowing a new renter to move into a rental property that doesn’t meet minimum standards is a criminal offence and evidence in the form will support the renting taskforce’s work to monitor compliance with the law and target inspections and enforcement action.

The renting taskforce will be embedded within CAV, with recruitment currently underway for extra intelligence analysts, investigators and lawyers.

To access the advertised rental property report form, visit:

consumer.vic.gov.au/rental-listing

Renters wanting to raise issues with their current rental properties can continue to use the general enquiry form at:

consumer.vic.gov.au/contact-us/resolve-your-problem/general-enquiry