As a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic 2020 has been a difficult year for many renters. To assist renters during this difficult time, the State Government introduced the temporary eviction moratorium and rental assistance packages to help with the rental stress caused by the pandemic.
The Commissioner for Residential Tenancies’ Dr Heather Holst has worked closely with Government departments on strategic initiatives and policy advice to assist Victorian renters during this difficult time.
Regular quarterly meetings have been held during the year with the Renters Advisory Group and the Stakeholder Reference Group to discuss current and systemic issues Victorian renters face. These regular meetings ensure that issues and recommendations are brought to the attention of Government and policy makers.
The Community of Practice meetings have progressed with stakeholders and renters with a focus on better renter education, best practice and the provision of easily understood rental information.
The Commissioner 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 October 2020 the Commissioner released Renting in Victoria Snapshot 2020. This paper aims to improve general knowledge about renting and to assist rental issues to be considered by people who are developing services and policies. Work has begun on the 2021 Renting in Victoria Annual Snapshot and will be released later this year.
The Commissioner is looking forward to continuing her work with the Renters Advisory Group, her Community of Practice Committee and Stakeholder Reference Group in 2021.
Let the Commissioner know about emerging systemic issues that you and your community face.
Update: Stakeholder Reference Group
The Commissioner has been working closely with stakeholders, developing practical solutions for Victorian renters who have had to face rental stress issues that has been caused by COVID-19, the pandemic.
The Commissioner's quarterly stakeholder meetings continue to be an important platform where rental, emerging and systemic issues are exposed and solutions sought.
Update: Residential Tenancies Education and Information Community of Practice
The Commissioner is committed to 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.
Keep up to date with the rental changes .
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.