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A word from our CEO

Here, at Tenants Victoria, we are reviewing our strategic plan, looking at the horizon, and setting goals and new priorities to put renters at the heart of our work. 

Meanwhile, the state of Victoria is engaged in a key review - setting a strategy for social and affordable housing for the next decade.

It has always struck me as an omission that Victoria has universal health and universal education as part of its policy framework - but provision of universal housing is so far absent.

Universal access to housing should be as prized as is universal access to health and education and inform all policies - including on renting. As we note in our submission (linked below), Government also has a key role in resetting the public dialogue about housing, to establish it as a public good and to recognise it as infrastructure of equal merit as transport, hospitals or schools. 

 

– Jennifer Beveridge

Long view on housing  

We made a submission to the Victorian Government’s consultation on the Ten-Year Social and Affordable Housing Strategy. Among our recommendations are that social and affordable housing must be sited close to employment and services. People on low incomes are often forced to rent homes in outlying suburbs - far from jobs. 

Read our submission here

Tips for keeping homes warm this winter

As the cooler months set in, now is a good time to make sure the heating in your rented home is working properly. 

  1. As a renter, remember you have legal rights.
  2. Heaters that are broken or not working properly are classed as urgent repairs.
  3. If your heater isn’t working, tell the landlord ASAP.
  4. It doesn’t matter if the heater was broken when you moved in. It should be working right now.
  5. If the landlord doesn’t fix it you can apply to VCAT, which must hear your case within 2 business day.

See our repairs and maintenance page for more information. 

Energy: support is available

Rent has not been the only financial pressure point for renters during the pandemic with reports of substantial increases in the number of utility disconnections due to non-payment of bills. 

Some groups are left particularly exposed, such as renters who are international students. The Energy and Water Ombudsman urges people to contact their power company, which by law must offer help. The Essential Services Commission says that due to the pandemic, utility companies should not take steps to disconnect householders who may be in financial stress or are isolating because of the coronavirus.  

New rental laws

Victoria’s rental laws changed on 29 March 2021. Included in the new laws are changes that affect overdue rent, evictions, urgent repairs, and family violence measures, and the introduction of minimum standards in rental homes. 

Visit our summary page for an overview of what the changes mean to renters and how they might affect you.

 

 

If the landlord tries to evict you...

Here are our top tips to deal with a stressful situation:

  1. Don’t panic. You have rights.
  2. You can only be asked to leave your rental home if VCAT makes an order.
  3. Write down what’s happened in case you need to tell VCAT.
  4. Check the Tenants Victoria website and contact page for more info.

See our website for more information on the eviction process

Insights from multicultural renters

A new report from the Consumer Policy Research Centre has tracked the experiences of diverse consumers during the pandemic. 
 
Key insights include that one in five culturally  and linguistically diverse (CALD) renters reported they had to miss a rental payment last November - compared with 6% of the broader population. 

 

Tenancy in the news

In April, our CEO Jennifer Beveridge spoke to The Age and the Saturday Paper about the impact of the end of rental protection

Also check out lawyer Ben Cording in Choice on renters rights to affordable heating.
 

 

 

Contact us

Visit our website to find answers to many questions – it’s a free community resource for renters.

Our legal team answers renters’ questions via phone and email. We thank everyone for their patience during this time as we are experiencing very high demand.

Our tenant advice line is available from Monday to Friday, 10am-2pm. Get in touch via our Contact us page – we will respond as quickly as possible.


 

Tenants Victoria
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