New measures to implement a ban on evictions and support renters - 15.4.20

Council to Homeless Persons e-news explains

On the 15th April, the Premier announced a set of new  measures to provide certainty around the ban on evictions, announced by the Prime Minister on 29 March, and just prior to Easter two new announcements were made to increase accommodation options for people experiencing homelessness during the crisis. All the details below. 

From the Premier of Victoria
Supporting Tenants And Landlords Through Coronavirus

15 April
The Victorian Government will bring urgent legislation to the Parliament in line with decisions of the National Cabinet to support tenants and landlords through the coronavirus pandemic by reforming residential and commercial tenancy laws.

These include introducing a temporary ban on evictions, pausing rental increases for six months, and providing land tax relief for landlords and rent relief for tenants experiencing financial hardship as part of a plan to help Victorian families and businesses get to the other side of this unprecedented crisis.

Links and additional info  

More detail about the evictions moratorium and rental relief scheme is at:
https://www.consumer.vic.gov.au/resources-and-tools/advice-in-a-disaster/coronavirus-covid19-and-your-rights
https://www.housing.vic.gov.au/help-renting/rentrelief

Evictions

The evictions moratorium has a set of exceptions that include: violence, damage, use of the property for criminal activity, and wilful non payment of rent, as well as landlord needing to move back in, or do major repairs.

Together with tenancy organisations, CHP is engaged in ongoing dialogue with Government about these exceptions.

The legislation will apply to all evictions and RTA proceedings from 29 March 2020. We are seeking clarity on the implications for notices to vacate and orders of possession issued prior to 29 March.

The announcement also includes a freeze on rent increases for 6 months from 29 March 2020 (through to 26 Sep).

Rent relief

The package includes measures to strongly encourage landlords to negotiate rent reductions with their tenants. If they refuse to negotiate there is a two stage process for dispute mediation that will be administered by Consumer Affairs Victoria, and which ultimately can include a mandated reduction in rent. 

Once tenants have a renegotiated tenancy agreement, they can also access rent relief if they are still in hardship. 

DHHS will be administering the rental relief fund for tenants paying more than 30% in rent (post-renegotiation with landlord), where the tenant has under $5000 in cash savings and household income of under $99,000. 
 
Entry points and PRAP programs can refer people in rent arrears due to job losses to CAV for further information about how to access the rent relief scheme and to the DHHS website for direct applications. Initial information can be found on the CAV website (https://www.consumer.vic.gov.au/resources-and-tools/advice-in-a-disaster/coronavirus-covid19-and-your-rights)  and DHHS site (https://www.housing.vic.gov.au/help-renting/rentrelief)  
 

Breaking a lease

The new rules will allow tenants to break a lease early if they are in financial hardship without paying early termination fees.

More info: CHP will provide more information when the legislation is tabled, or more details become available.