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Mitchell is the Managing Principal of Sharrock Pitman Legal. He is an Accredited Specialist in Commercial Law (accredited by the Law Institute of Victoria). He also deals with areas of Employment Law, Wills & Estate Planning and Probate and can answer all your questions related to probate.

For further information, contact Mitchell on his direct line:


CALL: (03) 8561 3318

On 29 March 2021, new residential tenancy laws were introduced, impacting every tenant and landlord in Victoria.

On 29 March 2021, new residential tenancy laws were introduced, impacting every tenant and landlord in Victoria. The commencement date of 1 July 2020 for the 132 new reforms pursuant to the Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2018 was delayed as a result of COVID-19.

The new rental laws aim to set minimum standards for rental properties in Victoria and clarify the rights and responsibilities of both tenants and landlords. The new residential tenancy laws will encapsulate all stages of the end to end rental process, from before the rental agreement is signed, right until the agreement comes to an end. This includes repairs and modification to rooming houses, long term leases, notices to vacate and pet ownership.

What are some of the key changes?

Below is a quick summary on the key changes:

End of ‘no reason’ notices to vacate

Previously, landlords could give notices to vacate without having to provide a reason. This is no longer a valid basis for removing a tenant. Landlords must provide a valid reason if they want to give a notice to vacate.

The only exception to this is an ‘end of fixed term’ notice to vacate, which can be given without a more specific reason, provided the termination date coincides with the end of your fixed term lease. This sort of notice can only give given at the end of the first fixed-term, and cannot be given for any subsequent fixed term.

Tenants may be able to contest a notice to vacate on grounds of invalidity, or if they believe it has been given in response to a tenant exercising, or trying to exercise, their rights.

Evidence for notices to vacate

Some notices to vacate now require evidence to be attached as set out by Consumer Affairs Victoria. For example, if the landlord wants to undertake major renovations, they must provide evidence such as a copy of the relevant building permit with the notice to vacate. If the notice to vacate is being issued because the landlord wants to sell the property, they must attach evidence such as the signed contract of sale and their agreement with a sales agent.

Compliance

The new regulations mean that landlords need to comply with various laws concerning matters such as electrical/gas checks, regulations for pools and spas, and water tanks where that is now mandatory for fire-prone areas.

Rental Property Modifications

Under the new residential tenancy laws, “renters” will be allowed to make prescribed modifications to the property without the consent of the “rental provider”.

Leasing, Keys and Locks

There are also specific changes to leasing terminology, the disclosure of personal and property information, the cleaning of the home at hand over, and the number of sets of keys to give to tenants.

Pets

Landlords can no longer unreasonably refuse a pet in their rental property. However, tenants must still ask for permission.

Urgent Repairs and Maintenance

The definition of urgent repairs has been expanded and now includes serious faults that impact on safety and use of the property

Modifications to Minimum Standards

Rental properties now need to meet a new set of minimum standards in their accommodation offering. Basic needs like fixed heating in main living rooms, functioning kitchens with ovens and cooktops, locks on all doors and curtains for privacy.

What do the key changes mean for landlords?

The raft of new residential tenancy laws will undoubtedly place extra pressure on landlords in Victoria. It is conceivable these key changes are likely to lead to landlords charging a higher rent, or worse, discourage property investment altogether in the State.

Landlords will need to keep equip themselves with knowledge of the key changes in order to comply and to ensure the regulations are implemented effectively.

How can Sharrock Pitman Legal help?

If you are a landlord and would like to discuss your obligations under the new regulations or seek guidance on how to comply, you may wish to have a lawyer advise you on your legal position. Please do not hesitate to contact our Property Law team on 1300 205 506 or alternatively fill in the contact form below.

The information contained in this article is intended to be of a general nature only and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Any legal matters should be discussed specifically with one of our lawyers.

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.

Written by a member of our Legal Team

,

.

Lynda Lim

For further information contact

Andre Ong

Andre is a Principal of Sharrock Pitman Legal.

He heads our Property Law Group and is an Accredited Specialist in Property Law (accredited by the Law Institute of Victoria).  He also deals with Commercial Law. For further information, contact Andre Ong on his direct line (03) 8561 3317.

More on

Property Law

On 29 March 2021, new residential tenancy laws were introduced, impacting every tenant and landlord in Victoria.

However, in this article we will set out the factors that influence how long it will take to obtain a Grant of Probate and to administer an estate in Victoria.

The basics

First things first: what is a Grant of Probate? A Grant of Probate is effectively a document issued by the Supreme Court of Victoria which formally authorises an executor to manage the estate of a deceased person in accordance with their Will. Without Probate, the asset holders (say a bank or share registry) cannot be satisfied as who has the correct authority to receive the deceased's assets and may refuse to pay out.

Sometimes, for smaller estates or if assets are mostly jointly owned with a surviving spouse, asset holders might agree to release payment without requiring a Grant of Probate. This is usually on the basis that the person who receives payment promises to repay (or Indemnify) the asset holder if it turns out they paid to the wrong person.

If there is no Will, then you cannot obtain a Grant of Probate. Instead you obtain Letters of Administration. This is effectively the same, in terms of authorising someone to administer the estate, and would usually be obtained by the person who is the closest next-of-kin to the deceased.

“A Grant of Probate is effectively a document issued by the Supreme Court of Victoria which formally authorises an executor to manage the estate of a deceased person in accordance with their Will.”

Timeframes for Probate in Victoria

In order to obtain a Grant of Probate, the Supreme Court needs to be given information about the assets and liabilities of the estate, the deceased person, the witnesses to the Will, the executors and the Will itself. An advertisement of your intention to apply for Probate must also be published on the Supreme Court website for at least 14 days prior to any application being lodged.

Often, making enquires to obtain all the necessary information can take a number of weeks. Also, you will need the Death Certificate for the application for Grant of Probate and possibly for making proper enquires regarding the assets and liabilities. Waiting for the Death Certificate to issue can therefore add a few more weeks to the process. Overall, if you have your application for Grant of Probate lodged within 1 to 2 months from the date of death, you are making timely progress.

The Court itself usually does not take long to process the application (maybe another 1 to 2 weeks) and this is completed using the electronic Supreme Court filing system. This means you do not have to go to a Court hearing. The timeframe for processing applications for Letters of Administration is even less, given that there is no Will document for the Court to consider. There is also a general discretion for the Court to raise a 'Requisition' asking for more information before they review the application - this can sometimes delay matters.

“Overall, if you have your application for Grant of Probate lodged within 1 to 2 months from the date of death, you are making timely progress.”

So, here we are a few months after death and you finally have a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration. It is important to remember that this is the start of the estate administration and not the end. For a very simple estate, you might only need a further month or so to cash the assets and pay them to the correct beneficiaries. However, it can often be more complex than that. Factors that determine the timeframe to administer the estate include:-

  • Some assets will take time to cash or transfer. For example, if selling a property, final settlement might be 60/90/120 days from the day of sale.
  • There is a 6 month period for challenges to be brought against the estate and executors must wait until this period expires before distributing the estate, if there is any risk that a disgruntled family member might come forward.
  • There might need to be final tax returns for the deceased or for the estate. Failing to wait for the ATO to process these could leave the executor personally liable for a tax bill.
  • You might need to advertise for creditors to come forward and wait for a period of months while this advertising timeframe expires. This protects the executor if they are unsure of all of the deceased's financial dealings and creditors.
  • It might not always be a good time to immediately cash estate assets. For example, the shares just took a nose-dive, do you still sell regardless of available price?

There is a general rule that executors have an 'executor's year' to complete the estate administration. This means that you should be aiming to have the estate finalised and distributed within 12 months from the date of death.

The information contained in this article is intended to be of a general nature only and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Any legal matters should be discussed specifically with one of our lawyers.

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.

Need help with Probate?

Our expert legal team is ready to take your call!

Mitchell is the Managing Principal of Sharrock Pitman Legal. He is an Accredited Specialist in Commercial Law (accredited by the Law Institute of Victoria). He also deals with areas of Employment Law, Wills & Estate Planning and Probate and can answer all your questions related to probate.

For further information, contact Mitchell on his direct line:

DIRECT LINE: 
(03) 8561 3318

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For fifty years Sharrock Pitman Legal has made a significant and long term contribution to meeting the legal needs of business owners and residents in the City of Monash and greater Melbourne area.