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New COVID-19 guide for renters

New Victorian laws temporarily change how the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 operates in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These laws will apply for 6 months from 29 March 2020.

The changes introduced by the new laws include:

  • changes to evictions, including a ban on notices to vacate
  • a ban on rent increases
  • changes to when tenants can move out
  • changes to tenants’ obligations, if related to COVID-19
  • restrictions on tenant database listing, if related to COVID-19
  • new protections for victim-survivors of family violence
  • a new dispute resolution process for tenants and landlords
Read the guide
Can I be evicted?
 
If you get a Notice to vacate on or after 29 March 2020, and before 26 September 2020, the notice is of no effect. If you got a Notice to vacate before 29 March 2020 with a termination date on or after 29 March 2020 the notice is of no effect. Under the new laws, if the landlord wants you to leave they will have to apply to VCAT for a Termination Order. Read more
Are rent increases allowed?
 
No, the landlord is not allowed to increase the rent for six months from 29 March 2020. If you get a Notice of rent increase on or after 29 March 2020, it is not valid. Read more
How about rent reduction?
 
The first step will be to contact your landlord and try to make an agreement about rent reduction. If successful, you can then register the agreement with Consumer Affairs Victoria. If you do not reach agreement , Consumer Affairs Victoria will help you reach an agreement or refer the dispute to mediation by Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria. Read more
Can I get help to pay my rent?

The Victorian Government has established a rent relief grant for Victorians experiencing rental hardship due to COVID-19.  To be able to access the grant you will first need to follow the steps of the rent reduction process, and have your agreement registered with Consumer Affairs Victoria. Read more
Can I move out?
 
Under the new laws, which will apply from 29 March 2020 until 26 September 2020, you cannot give a Notice of Intention to Vacate to move out of your home unless for specific reasons. If any of the reasons apply you can give a 14-day Notice of Intention to Vacate in writing to end your tenancy. Clarification is being sought from government on the impact on fixed vs periodic leases. Read more
Family violence protection
 
Victim-survivors of family violence will be able to apply to VCAT to get a lease in their name (excluding a perpetrator) or remove themselves from a lease and also protect themselves from the debt created by the perpetrator due to damage to the property or unpaid rent.
Read more
New pet laws put to the test

In one of the first tests of the new Victorian pet laws, VCAT has ruled in favour of the tenants. Coming into effect on 2 March, the new laws are providing greater comfort to renters who own or aspire to own pets, and it’s good to know this practical law reform is working as intended.
Read more
We are now on Instagram!

Keep up to date with the latest tenancy news by following us on our new Instagram (Follow us @tenantsvic).

We'll be sharing renting stories and releasing useful information to keep you informed during these strange and uncertain times.
Have any questions?

Have a question about something not covered in this newsletter or on our website? Our passionate legal team is answering renters' questions via email. Please email us and we will respond as quickly as possible. We thank everyone for their patience during this time as we are currently experiencing very high demand.
Contact us
Tenants Victoria

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