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Published: August 2020

Pandemic protections: certainty for renters welcomed

Man sitting outside of office building holding handmade sign stating that he has lost his job due to COVID-19

Media Release: 20 August 2020

On behalf of our state’s two million renters, Tenants Victoria welcomes the announcement by the Andrews Government for an extension of COVID-19 rental protections until the end of the year (Update: pandemic protections now extend until the end of March 2021). Victorian renters who have lost jobs and or hours in vulnerable sectors such as retail, hospitality and tourism are facing the burden of financial stress, alongside the virus threat to health facing the community, said Tenants Victoria CEO Jennifer Beveridge.

“Our homes have become our safe havens amid the restrictions imposed by pandemic public health orders. Victoria’s renters will breathe a sigh of collective relief that they will continue to be protected from evictions if they fall behind on rent. For thousands of renters, this is the first time they have faced such hardship.”

“Tenants Victoria commends the Andrews Government for leading the nation in extending rental protections, including continuing bans on evictions and rental increases.”

“Renters facing hardship – defined as paying 30 per cent or more of their income in rental payments – will also be helped by the increase in the available rent relief grant to as much as $3000, up from the $2000 that was set previously.”

Ms Beveridge said Victoria had legislated a strong framework for tenants and landlords to come to fair and reasonable agreements for rental reductions, however it was clear more people needed to take advantage of the opportunity to seek rent reduction through mediation if they could not agree with the real estate agent and the landlord.

“We are embarking on a program of community education to help more renters access the available supports. Our key message to the state’s renters affected financially by the pandemic is to go for a rent reduction now.”

“We look forward to continuing our constructive engagement on issues with Consumer Affairs Minister Melissa Horne and Housing Minister Richard Wynne.”

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