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Vic brings in reforms to protect renters

Victorian renters pining for a pet have been thrown a bone under state government plans to make blanket bans on tenants with pets illegal.

It's part of a crackdown on unscrupulous Victorian landlords and agents, and designed to make life fairer for tenants, Premier Daniel Andrews says.

"For too long we've had an imbalance and things have not been as fair as they should be," he said on Sunday.

Under the reforms set to be introduced next year, landlords won't be able to refuse animals except under "certain circumstances", and would-be tenants will have access to a landlord and real estate agent blacklist.

Among other changes, the government has promised to introduce a commissioner for residential tenancies and says it will ban the "scourge" of rental bidding, including rental bidding apps.

Landlords will also be forced to disclose to renters plans to sell a property or the presence of asbestos, and they won't be able to evict tenants for no specified reason.

The Real Estate Institute of Victoria is critical of the government's plans, saying they'll "significantly imbalance the market in favour of tenants".

But the Victorian Council of Social Service said the reforms are particularly important given the increasing numbers of lifelong renters.

RSPCA Victoria said making it easier for tenants to keep their pets could significantly reduce the number of dogs and cats surrendered to shelters.

Mr Andrews has flagged additional reforms once a review of the Residential Tenancies Act is complete.

 

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