Tenants and COVID19

New temporary laws are in place to support Victorian tenants and landlords during this pandemic, under the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 and the COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) Act 2020. These new laws apply on residential properties for six months from 29 March 2020.

In summary form, the laws provide:

  • Moratorium on evictions – landlords cannot evict you for non-payment of rent
  • Rent relief for eligible tenants – check eligibility
  • Suspension of rental increase for six months
  • Land tax reductions and deferrals for landlords
  • A new dispute resolution process

The first step should always be to negotiate a temporary rent reduction agreement with your landlord. You may use the template offered by Consumer Victoria.

Landlords that agree to rent reduction may also qualify for a 25 per cent discount on their land tax determination and deferment of the balance until 31 March 2021. For more information, visit the State Revenue Office website

DISPUTE RESOLUTION PROCESS FOR TENANTS

STEP 1: Calculate how much rent can you afford to pay?

  • Consider your savings, income, government support including centerlink payments
  • Calculate your expenses for essential services – ie food, clothing, utilities, phone, education, motor vehicle expenses
  • Determine what is the reasonable amount of rent you can afford to pay – generally 30 per cent of your gross income will be considered as rental hardship

STEP 2: Contact Landlord/Property Manager and negotiate a rent reduction

  • You should negotiate in good faith trying to reach a reasonable outcome
  • If the landlord requests a deferral arrangement instead of rent reduction and you do not believe you will be able to meet the payments at a later stage, you should not agree to the same.
  • The rental reduction agreement should be registered.

STEP 3: Free mediation service to help resolve disputes

  • If you are unable to work out a rent reduction with the landlord, we will refer you to the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria (DSCV) for their free, specialised mediation service

Contact us and we can help you throughout the process

We can help you throughout this entire process, review or draft letters to negotiate rent reduction and even attend mediation with you in a genuine attempt to find a mutual agreement, tailored to your individual financial and personal circumstances.

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