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In September 2022 the Victorian Parliament passed the Residential Tenancies, Housing and Social Services Regulation Amendment (Administration and Other Matters) Act 2022. This act includes changes to the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (RTA) as part of the Supporting Safe and Productive Communities (SSPC) project.

The legislative changes intend to:

  • strengthen the response to behaviours of concern in public housing, and 
  • better protect both individual renters and the communities in which they live. 

The two changes are: 

  1. an expansion of the definition of common area on public housing high rise estates
  2. the requirement for Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal  (VCAT) to consider community impact statements, where appropriate and provided. This is as part of considering if a possession order is reasonable and proportionate. 
Frequently asked questions

How do the changes to the RTA aim to improve renter and community safety?

The RTA changes aim to improve renter and community safety by:

  • expanding the definition of 'common areas' to include the entire area of a public housing high rise estate
  • allowing individuals and neighbours impacted by behaviours of concern to have their voices considered in decisions made by the Victorian and Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) and feel confident that they will be heard.

The department will only consider legal action when there is evidence to substantiate a tenancy breach.

What is the expanded definition of ‘common area’?

The RTA definition of ‘common area’ remains in force. From 2 November 2023 the definition will expand to include the entire area of a public housing high-rise estate.  

The expanded  'common area'  definition will now include any area that is not a rented premises or leased to a third party (e.g. a community health provider).  

Does this expanded definition of 'common area' effect my tenancy or rental agreement?

In general, the expansion of the definition of ‘common area’ will not effect your tenancy or rental agreement. 

If you, your household or your visitors engage in behaviours of concern in common areas of your estate, this may be a breach of your rental agreement. This could affect your tenancy. 

What if the behaviour occurs in a ‘common area’ not associated with where a renter lives?

The department can only consider legal action against a renter if a breach occurs

  • in a common area associated with, or,
  • in proximity to the rented premises of the renter. 

When and where will the changes occur?

The changes take effect from 2 November 2023.

This change only applies to public housing high-rise estates.

Where to find more information?

For more information, please contact your nearest housing office between 9.00 am and 5.00 pm, Monday to Friday. 

More information is also available from: