Residential Tenant Issues | Constituency Question & Response

Ms VAGHELA (Western Metropolitan): My constituency question is directed to the Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation and Minister for Suburban Development, the Honourable Marlene Kairouz, MP. My question relates to the minister’s portfolio responsibilities for consumer affairs, gaming and liquor regulation.

As a result of the recent COVID-19 health crisis, some tenants are finding it hard to pay their rent because of job loss, reduced shifts at work, not having sick leave while under quarantine, or increased health and carer costs, while still trying to manage regular living expenses and bills. This issue has particularly impacted on young people and families who just don’t have the savings to get them through this period.

My question to the Minister is:

Can the Minister outline the relief and support measures that have been put in place for residential tenancies that would be beneficial for the constituents in my area of Western Metropolitan Region?

Ms HORNE (Williamstown—Minister for Ports and Freight, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation, Minister for Fishing and Boating):

The Victorian Government understands the enormous impact COVID-19 is having on Victorian businesses, workers and the rental sector, including those in the Western Metropolitan Region.

On 25 April 2020, the government’s residential tenancies emergency measures started under the COVID-19 Legislation Amendment (Emergency Measures) Act 2020 (the Act). The Act introduced a ban on evictions, which are now only possible in limited circumstances, and a ban on rent increases. These measures have been extended to 28 March 2021.

To help support this scheme, Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) offers a service to help tenants and landlords negotiate rent reductions and, where necessary, make binding orders to resolve disputes.

The government is also providing financial relief to tenants and landlords. Tenants experiencing hardship who have negotiated a rent reduction with their landlord may be eligible for a grant of up to $3,000. In addition to this, landlords who give their tenants rent reductions may be eligible for a discount of up to 50% on the property’s 2020 land tax.

You may wish to refer your constituents to the CAV website at www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/renting-laws-and-support-during-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic for further information on the support available.