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A word from our CEO

The sense of deja vu is strong as we enter 2022. A new strain of the coronavirus hovers on the horizon, spelling new uncertainties.

Many renters have felt the financial penalty brought on by close to two years of the pandemic and some are continuing to pay a price. As the peak body for renters, we have our ear to the ground through our legal centre tenancy work and community outreach. We will continue to speak up for renters facing hardship and disadvantage in unprecedented times.

A brighter spot this month included public recognition for our enhanced work with multicultural renter communities: we see this as essential capacity building, a need starkly highlighted by the public health lens. The ongoing pandemic reinforces the fact that safe, secure and affordable housing is, without doubt, a social determinant of our health.

Take care and stay safe over summer.

Jennifer Beveridge
CEO, Tenants Victoria

Our multicultural work recognised

Tenants Victoria’s extensive outreach to culturally diverse communities amid the pandemic has earned recognition at the annual Multicultural Awards for Excellence.

We've received a medal from the Victorian Multicultural Commission and been Highly Commended in the category of Excellence in Community Response and Recovery. Key to our work with financially hard-hit renters from multicultural backgrounds has been our community engagement workers’ proficiency in languages besides English - comprising Arabic, Dari/Farsi, Dinka, Mandarin, Cantonese and Malay.

'Our approach to renters from multicultural communities is intentionally grassroots and we’ve been building this work from the ground up. Liaison, so far, with more than 118 representative organisations has opened new doors for us to build trust and create much needed awareness of rental rights and supports,’ said Farah Farouque, Director of Community Engagement.

Read about all the recipients at the awards ceremony at the Government House on 7 December here.

Renters pursue legal action for repairs

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) has seen the number of applications from renters for urgent repairs almost double over the past three years.

One of our expert lawyers, Katie Valenta, spoke to the Age on the issue, saying ‘Renters frequently tell us that they have been waiting for repairs to be completed for weeks, months, or even on occasion delays of years.’

Hurry! Apply for relief grant until Jan 16 

We know that many renters, especially those is some of the hardest hit industries such as hospitality and tourism, are continuing to feel the ongoing pressure from successive lockdowns.

The Victorian Government's rent relief grant worth up to $1500 is aiming to assist renters in Victoria experiencing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic. There are no citizenship or permanent residency requirements for applicants, and applications will close on January 16, 2022.

See our website for eligibility information.

Keeping cool in the summer heat

With summer heat waves come air conditioning failures.

If you live in a rental that has air-conditioning and it becomes faulty or ceases to work, you don’t necessarily have to sweat and bear it. Anything provided by the landlord in your home is their duty to maintain, not yours, and air-conditioning is an urgent repair under Victoria’s rental laws.

So, if it breaks down – call the agent or landlord ASAP and follow up with an email. See our website for more details.

Our holiday hours

From all of us at Tenants Victoria, we wish everyone a safe and happy festive season. Our office will be closed from 5pm on Thursday 23 December 2021 and will reopen at 9am on Monday 10 January 2022.

If you require urgent legal advice during this period, please contact Victoria Legal Aid on 1300 792 387, Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm.

New solutions to social housing crisis

In the lead up to next year's federal election, the issue of affordable housing is pressing. The Grattan Institute is proposing the federal government establish a Social Housing Future Fund.

Australia’s social housing stock has stagnated over the past two decades, with the impact felt most by those eligible for social housing, however forced to remain in the private rental market due to lack of available properties.

Read their analysis here.

Updated renter resource

Justice Connect has a helpful and free online resource, known as Dear Landlord, and it has been updated to help renters negotiate the Victorian Government’s latest rent relief grant worth up to $1500. As part of navigating the online tool, questions are presented to you in plain English, with tips along the way to help renters answer the questions based on their personal situation.

Try the ‘Dear Landlord' resource here.  Also check out our website for helpful information on the grant.

Another pandemic year ends

Have you caught up yet with our action-packed year?

In case you missed it, scan our recent annual report to see how Tenants Victoria has responded to a second year beset by pandemic challenges for renters - and to the implementation of major rental law reforms.


Contact us

Over the holidays, while we are closed, we encourage you to visit our website.

Our client services team return to answer renters questions via phone and email on Monday 10 January 2022.

Tenants Victoria
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