The Commissioner for Residential Tenancies’ Dr Heather Holst has been working steadily on her strategic initiatives to ensure renters know their rights, are able to exercise them and that the rights are strengthened through the rental law changes. 

In 2019 the Commissioner established her Stakeholder Reference Group, Residential Tenancies Education and Information Community of Practice and the Renters Advisory Group. These groups form part of the Commissioner’s broader stakeholder engagement process and will assist her in providing recommendations to Government. Please see below an update on the Commissioner’s most recent meetings. 

The Commissioner is looking forward to continuing her work with the Renters Advisory Group, her Community of Practice and Stakeholder Reference Group in 2020. 

If you wish to let the Commissioner know about an emerging systemic issue you and your community faces please Tell Your Story here (External link)

Wishing you all a safe and happy holiday season

 

Update: Stakeholder Reference Group

Since the second Stakeholder Reference Group meeting held 21 October 2019, the Commissioner has been working closely with stakeholders in developing practical solutions to address overcrowding and illegal rooming houses in inner Melbourne. A key focus for the Commissioner is to address the recent trend of international students living in overcrowded dwellings and illegal rooming houses in Melbourne’s Central Business District.

Please see here (External link) for Study Melbourne Student Initiatives Manager Diana Crevenkovic’s presentation to the Commissioner’s Stakeholder Reference Group members. 

 

Update: Residential Tenancies Education and Information Community of Practice

For the second Community of Practice meeting 16 October 2019, the Commissioner met with senior representatives from residential tenancies regulatory and community sector agencies to further collaboration initiatives in the implementation of the Residential Tenancies Act 2018 amendments.

The Commissioner is working closely with Consumer Affairs Victoria’s rental reform implementation team to ensure that renters’ lived experience is effectively embedded in the law changes and new regulatory processes.  

To keep up to date with the rental changes click here (External link).  

 

Update: Renters Advisory Group

The Renters Advisory Group is a diverse voluntary group of renters who share with the Commissioner their lived experience of renting to inform policy advice to Government.

In the first Residential Tenancies’ Renters Advisory Group meeting, members spoke to the Commissioner about systemic issues renters face in Victoria, including:

  • fear of VCAT and apprehension to exercise their rights
  • retaliation through rent increases or no notices in response to seeking urgent repairs and and/or pursuing a matter through VCAT, even if the repair is outlined in the current Residential Tenancies Act (i.e. a functional oven)
  • current legislative gaps for those renting in share houses and residential lifestyle villages
  • adverse societal perception of renters.

Advisory Group members have the unique opportunity to contribute to Consumer Affairs Victoria’s implementation of the Fairer Safer Housing Rental Reform and inform policies that will shape the future of renting in Victoria.