Friday, May 20, 2022

VIC: Make Renting Fair Campaign Launched

The Victorian State Government is currently reviewing the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA), prompting the Tenants Union of Victoria to launch a Make Renting Fair campaign.

The Act controls the safety, security and privacy for 1.2 million people across Victoria.

The Tenants Union’s campaign aims to strengthen protections for tenants and their families, invites Victorians to share their rental horror stories.

The number of households renting in Victoria has increased from 389,000 to 526,000 in just fifteen years. Due to our affordable housing crisis, more people are renting for more of their lives. The fastest growing group of renters in Victoria are over 55, speaking to major changes in the way we live as we head into retirement.

Recent research released by Choice, National Shelter and the National Association of Tenant Organisations found:

  • 83% of renters have no long-term security
  • 62% are scared to ask for a longer lease
  • 50% of tenants have been discriminated against
  • 50% of tenants fear being unfairly blacklisted
  • 21% of people have waited more than a week for urgent repairs
  • More than half of people surveyed rent because they can’t afford to buy a home

This research also found that Australia lags behind other countries in terms of tenant protections and rental rights. You can read the full report here. You can also follow the popular hashtag #RentinOz on Twitter to hear directly from renters.

The Union states that this is a rare opportunity to make positive changes to these laws, but noted tenants are also at risk of seeing consumer protections for tenants weakened.

The Tenants Union of Victoria founded the Make Renting Fair Campaign to make renting fair for everyone and to prevent it becoming an option of last resort for people on low and middle incomes.

The Union are calling on the Victorian Government to;

  1. Improve security of tenure and rental access by:
  • Removing ‘no reason’ eviction notices
  • Protecting people from unjust tenancy database practices
  1. Protect tenant and their families by:
  • Introducing minimum property standards that address health, safety and energy efficiency
  • Creating incentives for landlords to undertake repairs
  1. Expand privacy and fair use protections by:
  • Preventing unwanted visits and photography
  • Allowing tenants to undertake fair modifications
  1. Protect low income and vulnerable tenants by:
  • Preventing unreasonable evictions
  • Implementing the Family Violence Royal Commission recommendations
  1. Rule out punitive measures that would harm tenants, particularly those at risk of homelessness, including:
  • Rejecting proposed changes to make evicting people quicker and easier
  • Rejecting the proposed enforcement of onerous and unfair lease terms
  • Rejecting the proposed special bond scheme for pet owners
  • Rejecting additional restrictions on stays by guests and family
  • Maintaining existing protections for highly vulnerable tenants

You can read the Tenants Union of Victoria’s full submission to Consumer Affairs Victoria’s options paper here.

Strataville Editorial
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