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A word from our CEO

These past months have been intensely challenging for our state’s renters. They’ve lost jobs or income due to reduced hours; they are overrepresented in pressured sectors such as hospitality and retail. 

As the COVID-19 scenario unfolded, our organisation’s information and advice services have been accessed by hundreds of thousands of people. Renters have told us how anxious they were that their home, which represents security in the best and now the worst of times, was at risk.

The silver lining is that the amended tenancy law here in Victoria – part of the omnibus legislation responding to COVID-19 – is on the side of renters, at least until the end of September. Our advice to people experiencing hardship is to go for a rent reduction ASAP – there is a process activated through Consumer Affairs Victoria. 

I’d also like to appeal to landlords and agents, from whom we’ve seen some mixed messaging: beyond the black letter of the law, it pays to exercise compassion for the tough predicament many tenants still face.

- Jennifer Beveridge

Rent reduction survey

“I rent a home, and as a result am in a position where I need to be aware that angering an agent or landlord could result in negative consequences for me.”

Tenants Victoria have been monitoring the take-up of rent reductions across the state, and our concern is it’s still very low. Some people are unaware of their rights. Others have told us they fear possible retribution for even seeking a rent reduction.  Take our rent survey and share your experience, whether it’s good or bad, to inform our pandemic advocacy.

Take our rent reduction survey

Join us on Facebook Live

Do you have a question about COVID-19 or other general tenancy issues? Our Facebook Live sessions (launched last month) have proved popular so we’re back on this Thursday.

Pitch your question in a chat session with Farah Farouque, our Director of Community Engagement and Georga Wootton, one of our tenancy lawyers. Join us this Thursday, 25 June at 1pm on our Facebook to send in your questions.

Meet our new Director of Legal Services

Agata Wierzbowski has recently been appointed to the newly-created role of Director of Legal Services at Tenants Victoria.

Agata’s passion for building high performing legal centres has been shaped by over 10 years’ practice experience in community legal sectors and beyond. She has worked in roles including as a solicitor at Consumer Action, policy manager at Women’s Legal Service, and most recently as Executive Officer at St Kilda Legal Service.

In 2015, she was awarded the Victorian Law Foundation Community Legal Centre Fellowship, during which she wrote the report Lawyering for Change.

Help us help others

Secure and affordable housing is a fundamental need for people of every walk of life in Victoria. For too many renters this need is out of reach, with COVID-19 showing us just how vulnerable it can be to be a renter, especially in times of crisis.

Many renters are not aware of their rights, or don’t know that they can get help. At Tenants Victoria, we help Victorian renters through advocacy, education and advice. 

Your support will help us help other tenants.

For more information on making a tax-deductible donation before 30 June, go to our donations page. Donate now.

COVID-19 guide

Read our COVID-19 guide for renters for all the recent legislation updates, a sample rent reduction agreement and sample letters, and other useful tips and tools. 

We continuously update this guide with new government information and regulations.

Pet laws: a dog's victory at VCAT

On the back of new Victorian laws on tenancy and pets, there is emerging pet cases at the tribunal. In a latest case, a landlord argued that an eight-week-old German Shorthaired Pointer dog would be a risk of jumping over the railings on the third storey strata roof terrace, if kept there. However, VCAT said this was not a realistic risk in the circumstances.

The landlord also brought up an old Owners Corporation rule prohibiting pets, but this rule was deemed invalid. The tribunal noted that the ‘no pets’ clause was now superseded by the new law.

Read more about the case

Advocacy for renters

Tenants Victoria CEO Jennifer Beveridge and Principal Solicitor Ben Cording [pictured] presented last month to the Victorian Parliament’s Public Account and Estimates Committee inquiry into the government’s response to the pandemic. 

Check out what they had to say 

Read our submission

Join our advocacy, take our rent reduction survey

Collaboration 

In case you missed it, Tenants Victoria partnered with Fitzroy Legal Service last week for a live Facebook Live stream with information about the new rent reduction and relief options for tenants.

The live event started out with a comprehensive overview of the rent reduction process for tenants, and ended with a Q&A session.

Watch the session

Need some advice?

Our tenants advice line has reopened and is available from Monday - Friday 10am-2pm.

Our informed legal team is answering renters' questions via phone and email. Please contact 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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