Published: December 2022

Room for more renter reforms

Tenants Victoria welcomes 60th Victorian Parliament

With many challenges ahead for renters, Tenants Victoria looks forward to working with the re-elected Andrews Government in its third term in office.

As the peak body for our state’s renters, who number close to 2 million Victorians, we welcome key ministers whose responsibilities impact on the welfare of renters: Consumer Affairs Minister Danny Pearson, Housing Minister Colin Brooks and Attorney General Jaclyn Symes. We are also pleased to see Parliamentary Secretary Sheena Watt resume her responsibilities in the key housing portfolio.

‘We hope the third Andrews Government and the 60th Parliament will help further improve the position of Victorian renters who are a growing demographic in the electorate – and continue to face many challenges amid the housing affordability and supply crisis,’ said Tenants Victoria CEO Jennifer Beveridge.

Premier Daniel Andrews and his team have built a record in supporting renters with the implementation of over 130 welcome reforms to the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 and targeted financial supports for renters in the early phase of the pandemic. Building on these foundations, there is more scope for reform to support the growing number of renters in our community.

We congratulate all the new and returned MPs who will make up the new Parliament, and Tenants Victoria notes how rental issues have been elevated in the political dialogue including in the contribution by the Victorian Greens.   ‘We’ve long said that policymakers need to better respond to the demographic realities of renting – we see rental stress every day through the lens of our tenancy legal work and community outreach, Ms Beveridge said.

We’ve identified 3 top priorities to help renters for the re-elected Victorian Government to take up:

Take action on rent increases: The Victorian Government should undertake a public consultation, including renters and landlords and their representatives, with the goal of legislating a ‘fairness formula’ to regulate rent increases. This will ensure more certainty for renters in the private rental market where most tenants live.

Invest in legal help for renters: tenancy legal support services need to be better recognised as early intervention against homelessness. Government should invest strategically in Tenants Victoria as the state-wide specialist tenancy community legal centre providing critical frontline help for renters to stay in their homes.

Back alternative dispute resolution pathways: A new residential tenancies alternative dispute resolution scheme, separate to government and VCAT, should be considered to resolve simple rental disputes. It would likely encourage more renters to assert their rights as many remain intimidated by the process to seek remedies at VCAT.

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