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Victorian Landlords & Tenant Coronavirus Legislation

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Ben Williams

With the current coronavirus pandemic leading to a considerable amount of unemployment and uncertainty across the country, Australian landlords and renters have been eagerly awaiting word from the government on how this will impact their livelihood. Thankfully, as of April 15th, the Australian government has detailed plans to bring supportive legislation to parliament which will hopefully quell the fears of those that have had their income affected by COVID-19.

How Has the Current Pandemic Impacted Landlords & Renters?

Due to lockdowns and wider Stage 3 restrictions making it impossible for many businesses to operate effectively and maintain cashflow, the unemployment rate in Australia is expected to rise as high as 16% in the coming months. Because of this, many renters have found themselves unable to pay for their accommodation. This, coupled with limited job prospects, has led to the government being tasked with finding a way for those impacted to avoid eviction, whilst still ensuring that property owners and landlords manage to maintain their income.

What Will the Government Do to Assist Those Affected?

To combat the current situation, the proposed actions include a temporary ban on evictions, a six-month pause on all rental increases, and relief programs for both landlords and tenants who are experiencing issues financially due to the virus.

As part of this wider assistance plan, premier Daniel Andrews has also announced a $500 million package that will hopefully provide some peace of mind to tenants/landlords struggling with the economic disruption, both in the residential and commercial sectors.

The government has also urged tenants and landlords to work together to find resolutions in this difficult time. However, for those that experience difficulty when discussing the possibility of rent reductions or changes, a fast-tracked resolution service has also been put in place with mediation from Consumer Affairs Victoria or the Victorian Small Business Commission depending on the nature of the dispute.

New measures are in effect as of the 29th of March, with more announcements to be made across the next six months.

The Next Steps

As part of his announcement, Daniel Andrews emphasised this need for unity and understanding in this trying time, stating; “More than ever, we need to be working in partnership. Landlords working with tenants. Tenants working with landlords. And Government willing to help those most in need.”

Here at My Rental, our main goal during this difficult time is to help affected landlords and tenants find a happy middle ground solution that works for everyone. We need both parties to be mindful of each other’s financial situations, and for those that still have the financial means to do so to make concessions where they can.

 

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