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Taskforce to Target Unethical Rental Practices

The Allan Labor Government is establishing a new task force to tackle illicit behavior among rental providers and real estate agents.

This initiative comes on the heels of over 130 rental reforms introduced by the Labor government in 2021, which aimed to bolster tenant protections and streamline property management for landlords. Despite these reforms, certain unlawful practices persist, necessitating the creation of the task force.

Under the guidance of Consumer Affairs Minister Gabrielle Williams, the task force will receive a $4 million investment and operate in a manner akin to the successful Underquoting Taskforce. Its mandate includes leveraging intelligence and market analysis to bolster surveillance of rental activities, conducting targeted inspections, and taking enforcement action against discovered violations. Embedded within Victoria's Consumer Affairs Department, the task force will augment its workforce with additional intelligence analysts, inspectors, investigators, and legal professionals. Furthermore, the establishment of the Victorian Rental Dispute Resolution Center and the introduction of the Rental Stress Support Scheme form part of the government's broader initiatives to reform the rental sector.

These measures are designed to ensure a more equitable rental market and to send a clear message to those seeking to circumvent rental law enforcement. The implementation of minimum rental standards is also intended to safeguard tenants' fundamental rights, with severe penalties imposed on individuals and companies found renting out properties that fail to meet these standards.

Through these reforms and initiatives, the Australian government aims to cultivate a rental market characterized by fairness, transparency, and orderliness, thereby better safeguarding tenants' rights and fostering the healthy evolution of the rental industry.

Key highlights include:

  • Introduction of over 130 rental reforms in 2021 to enhance renter protections.

  • Establishment of a $4 million-backed task force to bolster monitoring and inspection of rental activities.

  • Integration of the task force within Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) and recruitment of additional analysts, inspectors, investigators, and legal experts.

  • Criminalization of renting out properties below minimum standards, with penalties exceeding $57,000 for companies.

  • Implementation of Rental Dispute Resolution Victoria and provision of a Rental Stress Support Package to aid financially distressed tenants.

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