26 September 2023

Leasehold protections released

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The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) has released details of changes to the law relating to renting a home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Tribunal said the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 was amended by the COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) Act 2020 which was passed by Parliament at the end of last month.

“The amendments have introduced significant changes to the way disputes are dealt with between tenants and landlords, rooming house owners and residents, and other accommodation providers and those who live in the accommodation,” the Tribunal said.

“The changes recognise the impacts of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic,” it said.

“Most of the changes have effect from 29 March 2020 and last for six months.”

VCAT said the key changes included a ban on notices to vacate; a ban on evictions in certain circumstances; a ban on rent increases; the right for tenants to apply for rent reduction or deferral; changes to how tenants can move out; restrictions on tenant database listing; and new protections for victim-survivors of family violence.

It said more changes to laws were expected in the coming weeks.

“Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) has established a call centre and their website provides information about the operation of the new laws,” it said.

The Tribunal said its list of Residential Tenancies Act 1997 section numbers for disputes commonly lodged by landlords and tenants had been updated to include the new changes.

Further information on the new laws can be accessed on CAV website via this PS News link.

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