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A word from our CEO

As restrictions ease in Victoria, tenants continue to have the protection of COVID-19 laws enhancing their rental rights until the end of March next year. 

Our advice for people renting their homes and facing financial hardship is to seek out a rent reduction under these laws. This could qualify them for a rent relief grant of up to $3000 from the Victorian Government. Next week, we start a public awareness campaign to spotlight these measures. As part our broad outreach, one focus is on renters from diverse communities.

I have been struck by how the health and broader social and economic impacts of the pandemic have affected some people from multicultural backgrounds especially hard. Tenants Victoria has been fortunate to receive funding for extra staff under the State Government’s Working for Victoria scheme. This has enabled us to employ new staff to strengthen our response to the crisis, including multilingual community engagement workers who have the cultural competence to help us break down barriers, and ensure we are - truly - ‘all in this together'.  

– Jennifer Beveridge

Restrictions – what has changed?

Now that Victoria is entering a new 'COVID normal', what does that mean for renters? What are your rights? We've updated our COVID-19 Guide based the new changes about:

  • Inspections and auctions
  • Time limits for inspections and residents having to leave their homes
  • Traveling for inspections
  • Repairs

For more information, visit our COVID-19 Guide for renters.

New real estate regulations

Tenants Victoria welcomes new regulations increasing the education requirements for the real estate industry. The Estate Agents (Education) Regulations 2020 commenced on 21 October 2020, prescribing the following courses:

  • For estate agents, 18 study units for the award of a Certificate IV in Real Estate Practice, and 12 units for the award of a Diploma of Property (Agency Management) 
  • For agents’ representatives, 18 study units for the award of a Certificate IV in Real Estate Practice.                                                                                      
We believe there is scope for further reform in this area given unequal power relationships between landlords and tenants - and the landlord representatives, real estate agents. 

Learn more about the regulations.

Meet our engagement officers

Tenants Victoria is putting more community engagement workers on the ground to share rental rights information and collect insights into challenges faced by renters who come from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

Among the new staff who joined our team this month for the six-month community engagement project are Ali Nazari, Aguer Athian and Alan Loow.

Collectively, this talented group also speak the following languages: Dinka, Kiswahili, Dari, Mandarin, Cantonese and Malay. We will be shortly adding a worker with Arabic language proficiency to further enhance outreach into multicultural communities. 

Need a rent reduction?
 
We’re encouraging renters to apply for a rent reduction if they are experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19.
 
We’ve redesigned our rent reduction page, with steps on how go through the entire rent reduction process.
 
We’ve also ramped up our COVID Guide for renters on our website, and we encourage you to share this resource with other renters you know who are in need during the pandemic.

Facebook sessions

In case you’ve missed them, we’ve been posting Facebook Live and pre-recorded videos answering your tenancy questions on rent reductions and other COVID-19 related topics on our Facebook page. Join Tenants Victoria's Director of Community Engagement Farah Farouque and tenancy lawyer Georga Wootton as they help break down the new emergency measures designed to protect tenants during COVID-19.
 
Check our latest Facebook videos here.

Youth Strategy

Our friends at the Youth Affairs Council of Victoria are working with the Victorian Government to make sure young people help inform the state’s new Youth Strategy.

Upcoming consultations provide an opportunity to improve how the State Government works with and for young people.

Get involved

Tell us your story

If you are having difficulties as a tenant due to the COVID-19 epidemic, consider telling us about your experiences. 

Sharing your story helps us work to improve tenancy laws. We want to find out about anything that is negatively affecting tenants during this health emergency so that we can try to change it.
 

Contact us?

Have a question about something not covered in this newsletter or on our website?

Our tenants advice line is available from Monday to 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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