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A word from our CEO

As the sixth lockdown extends into spring, we are well overdue for relief for struggling residential renters who’ve lost income. Our report, Pandemic pain, released last week makes a compelling case for the Victorian Government to re-introduce targeted supports to sustain tenancies at a time when staying in your home is required for public health.

Throughout the course of the pandemic we have undertaken surveys to paint a picture of what’s going on for affected renters. A strong theme that keeps recurring is the degrees of questionable conduct by some landlords and real estate agents in our community.

This is disappointing, and does suggest the power imbalances between renters and rental providers (as landlords are now officially known) still have a long way to go before we achieve parity between them.

– Jennifer Beveridge

Finding a new rental in lockdown

If you’re looking for a new rental, it’s hard to check places out right now — current public-health restrictions ban inspections in most circumstances. Here are some pointers for leasing in a lockdown.

  • Ask the agent or landlord for a detailed video tour of the house
  • Request copies of the most recent condition reports, including any photos
  • Try to get a copy of the floor plan with measurements
  • Do as much research as you can about the house. Street View on Google Maps is handy for a candid photo of the street frontage
  • Do not pay cash and do get a receipt for any payments
  • Make sure that anything the landlord says they will do is written into the rental agreement
  • If you find out anything is broken, the landlord is obliged under rental laws to fix it

See our website for more information.

Pandemic rental stress

In case you missed it last week, Tenants Victoria’s latest report Pandemic pain mapped local government areas identified as lockdown ‘rental stress hotspots’: Greater Dandenong, Yarra, Hume, Frankston, Moreland, Melbourne, Brimbank, Maribyrnong, Glen Eira, Port Phillip and Darebin all rank on the list.

Some 684 renters responded to our snapshot survey, conducted over a week in the wake of the fifth lockdown. Among the key takeaways:

  • 69% reported that they had been financially impacted by lockdown
  • Just over half said lockdown had affected their ability to pay rent
  • The average loss per renter was $108 per day

Read the report, including solutions we’ve proposed for this policy challenge: Pandemic pain Victorian Renters in Lockdown.

We want you!

Are you a new law graduate looking to enter the community legal sector? We have Practical Legal Training (PLT) Paralegal vacancies open right now.

These are volunteer positions, available 2 days a week for a minimum of 6 months. Your main role will be to apply your legal skills to support our talented team of tenancy lawyers, who are led by our Director of Legal Services Agata Wierzbowski.

Join us and make a difference.

Tenancy issues in the media

Responding to our latest public advocacy, media outlets were quick to take up the issue of renters financially struggling in lockdown.

Read the ABC's coverage quoting Tenants Victoria CEO Jennifer Beveridge here and watch Farah Farouque, our Director of Community Engagement, outline renters’ struggles to newsreader Mike Amor on Channel 7 News here.

A special thanks from Tenants Victoria to renter Trevor Hines, who so frankly shared the story of his pandemic challenges with the ABC reporter Neelima Choahan. If you have a story you would like to discuss sharing with the media, email us here.

Catch us on Instagram!

We've debuted on Instagram Live in a helpful chat featuring our expert lawyer, Georga Wootton, in a bid to share timely information with renters.

Catch up on our first Insta chat where we talked about lockdowns, renters' rights, and that mess we all tidy up before a routine (virtual) inspection.

COVID-19 resources

As well as our website, which remains a rich source of information for renters, there are many organisations in our community that can provide practical assistance to renters in these challenging times.

See the COVID-19 information page on our website for a list of where you may be able to find help.

Recognising work to end homelessness

Nominations for the Victorian Homelessness Achievement Awards are now open. The awards are run by the homelessness peak body, Council to Homeless Persons, and recognise workers, consumers, programs and organisations that work to end homelessness in our community.

Find out more here.

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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