The Victorian Government yesterday announced an extended ban on evictions and rental increases until the end of the year, increase assistance and ensure tenant turnover is taken into account in rental negotiations – giving tenants certainty and security they won’t lose their home or workplace during the pandemic.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said, “No one should have to be worried about losing a roof over their head right now. This will give tenants certainty and security that they won’t lose their home or business while we fight this deadly pandemic.”
Under the extension, evictions will continue to be banned for both residential and commercial tenancies until December 31, except in specific circumstances. Rental increases continue to be banned for the same period.
In the past four months, close to 26,000 agreements for reduced rent have been registered with Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV), with advice and dispute resolution services accessed more than 80,000 times.
Of these contacts, more than 90 per cent have found solutions through CAV’s ‘front door’ service, including more than 8,400 cases resolved through its Residential Tenancies Dispute Resolution Scheme.
These services will continue to remain in place, assisting more residential tenants and landlords who might be struggling to reach an agreement over rent reductions.
Eligible residential tenants and landlords will be supported with up to $3,000 in rental payments as part of the Rental Relief Grant program, with new recipients able to apply for the full amount, and up to $1,000 extra available for previous recipients.
Residential and commercial landlords may also be eligible for an increased land tax discount – now up to 50 per cent – doubled from the earlier 25 per cent. A fund of $60 million for eligible small commercial landlords will be available via a hardship scheme, which will provide up to $3,000 per tenancy.
Eligible small businesses that own their own commercial premises will also now benefit from land tax relief.
The Government is also encouraging banks to continue working with their customers, both residential and commercial, who are struggling to pay their mortgage as a result of the pandemic.
In addition, a new $600,000 package will ensure advocacy groups can continue to be a voice for vulnerable tenants during coronavirus. This funding will allow Tenants Victoria, Victorian Council of Social Service, Financial Counselling Victoria and Registered Accommodation Association Victoria to provide more training and resources to help tenancy and community sector workers support vulnerable tenants in resolving disputes with their landlords.