Several government and community agencies have responsibilities for the Victorian private rental sector.
Together these agencies provide support services for renters including:
- information and advice to help people independently resolve disputes
- third party conciliation, mediation and negotiation services
- inspections and advice to help in the resolution of disputes, or to support legal actions
- legal advice and representation at hearings
- alternative dispute resolution and hearings which make binding orders and decisions
- financial help to vulnerable and disadvantaged renters to support their participation in the private rental sector.
- Consumer Affairs Victoria – administers the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (the main renting law in Victoria), and undertakes sector-wide compliance and enforcement activities.
- Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal – resolves disputes in a range of areas, including residential tenancies, by conducting mediations, compulsory conferences and hearings.
- Victoria Legal Aid – funded by the Victorian Government to improve community access to justice and legal remedies.
- Tenants Victoria – funded by the Victorian Government to support vulnerable and disadvantaged renters, and support community workers to help renters.
- Housing for the Aged Action Group – funded by the Victorian Government to support older renters.
- Community agencies – legal and non-legal community agencies provide support for vulnerable and disadvantaged renters. Consumer Affairs Victoria funds some of these centres. For more information, visit the Tenancy Assistance and Advocacy Program page on the Consumer Affairs Victorian website .
Characteristics and trends
The number of people renting a home in Victoria is growing.
The 2016 Census found that almost one in three households were renting. In the 20 years to 2016, the number of households renting rose by more than 60 per cent. By comparison, over the same period the number of all Victorian households - those renting plus homeowners - increased by just over 40 per cent.
Around nine in 10 households rent privately-owned housing while one in 10 live in public housing. Only a small number of households rent community housing.
Renters in private rental housing are typically:
- living with other renters, either as a couple, in a family or a group household
- aged between 25 to 34 years – although younger renters outnumber older renters, the fastest growing group of renters are those aged 55 and over
- living in a house with two or more bedrooms
- four times more likely to have moved in the last year than homeowners
- paying increasingly more of their income towards rent
- living in a rental property managed by a real estate agent.
Annual private rental sector snapshot
Each year the Commissioner will review the characteristics and trends in the private rental sector and publish an annual statistical snapshot. This will inform government and community decision-makers and the Victorian public.
In relation to the Commissioner’s work, these key terms have the following meanings:
- Community housing is fully or partially funded by the Victorian government to provide short-term crisis or transitional housing, as well as longer-term housing.
- Private rental sector includes premises that are privately leased by a rental provider (landlord or property owner) to a renter (tenant or resident). It excludes public housing but includes community housing, and specialist disability accommodation to the extent that it is captured under the Residential Tenancies Act 1997.
- Public housing is owned by the Victorian government and provides long-term subsidised rental accommodation for disadvantaged Victorians.
Note: Renter is the term used to collectively refer to tenants under a residential tenancy agreement, residents in rooming houses, caravans and moveable dwellings, site tenants in Part 4A parks as defined in section 3 of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 and specialist disability accommodation residents.