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A word from our CEO

A nationwide recession compounded by a second Stage 3 lockdown in Victoria adds urgency to the question: what happens when legislated protective measures for renters finish in our state in September? 

Tenants Victoria will work with the State Government and the new Minister for Consumer Affairs, Melissa Horne, to ensure renters are protected from the continued impacts of the pandemic. 

If not for COVID-19, landmark reforms to the Residential Tenancies Act were in the wings and due to be implemented this month. The start date has been deferred amid the crisis.

Victoria’s emergency laws for renters includes a do-it-yourself process to obtain rent reductions. More renters must take advantage of this. If you’re facing hardship due to coronavirus, go for a rent reduction. You can’t afford not to.

- Jennifer Beveridge

Masks and more: tenants' rights

Now that there are new rules to wear masks or face coverings in Greater Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, this applies to landlords, agents and all other people entering your home for inspections, repairs and any other reason.

For more information on all your tenancy rights in the time of COVID-19, check out our updated COVID-19 guide for renters.

Surveying renters' experiences

The voices of tenants are so important to inform our advocacy.  

Ettore Michelin, an international student from Italy who is renting in Footscray while studying hotel management, shared his story recently via our rent reduction survey and later spoke to The Age's Domain. To afford his rent, Ettore has been juggling two jobs. After his hours were cut in his regular part-time job, he had to take on a casual role at a factory taking the temperature of workers before they start their shifts. 

Did you try to reduce your rent during COVID-19? Join Ettore and take our rent reduction survey.

Public housing: homes, not just headlines

More than 3000 public housing tenants in apartment blocks across North Melbourne and Flemington faced hard lockdowns this month, implemented under the broad power of the Chief Health Officer. Initially, after a ‘testing blitz’, more than 150 positive COVID-19 cases were identified across seven of the nine blocks. As of yesterday, DHHS said that 291 COVID-19 cases involved residents in public housing in North Melbourne and Flemington.

The implementation and durations of the lockdowns—involving police, emergency services, health and welfare workers, and community volunteers—raises sensitive questions including the balance struck between the urgent need for health protections and the agency of tenants in their own homes. 

Writing in the online journal Eureka Street, Somali-Australian writer Najma Sambul explored the strong community response led by young people. Read her article: Responding with compassion.

Join us for our next Facebook Live

Our new Facebook Live events offer practical support to tenants who need information. For example, last week we discussed ‘hot’ topics including the prevalence of mould and how to fix it as well as the conduct of house inspections amid a pandemic. 

“The Facebook live chats have answered all my niggling worries and helps us as tenants know our rights."

We've had positive feedback for the chats where tenants can ask questions in an informal format moderated by Farah Farouque, our Director of Community Engagement and Georga Wootton, one of our skilled tenancy lawyers.

We encourage tenants to join us during the next session on Friday 31 July at 1pm on our Facebook page. 

 

Contact us

Our tenants advice phone line will be closed from 23 July 2020 and all of next week for a tech upgrade. Our team of skilled lawyers will continue to respond to email enquiries during this period while they will be working from home due to increasing cases of COVID-19 in Greater Melbourne, and in line with the Chief Health Officer’s direction. 

We will resume our phone legal advice to Victorian renters as soon as we have completed the technology upgrade. We thank everyone for their patience during this time.

Contact us

Dear Landlord

Our friends at Justice Connect have re-launched their useful self-help tool, Dear Landlord.

The simple online tool is designed to assist people facing difficulty negotiating with their landlord to stay in their rented home. It will ask a series of questions, and based on the answers, produce a tailored letter or rent reduction agreement to send to the landlord.

You can also find tailored letters on a range of subjects on the Tenants Victoria's COVID-19 guide for renters.

Social housing 

The pandemic has put social housing in the spotlight.

In case you've missed it we are participating with other housing and homelessness peak bodies in the campaign Make Social Housing Work.

Thank you!

Tenants Victoria is grateful for the generous donations (and kind feedback) that we have received last month for our June appeal.

Your support will be used to help us make renting fair, secure and dignified.  

Thank you from all of the Tenants Victoria team.

Tenants Victoria
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