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The facts about renting in Victoria

The Victorian Government is currently reviewing our Residential Tenancies Act (RTA), which controls safety, security and privacy for over 1.5 million people across the state. Tenants Victoria (formerly the Tenants Union of Victoria) authored an opinion piece talking about the situation for Victorians.

The number of households renting in Victoria has increased from 389,000 to 526,000 in just fifteen years. Due to our affordable housing crisis, more people are renting for more of their lives. The fastest growing group of renters in Victoria are over 55, speaking to major changes in the way we live as we head into retirement.

Recent research released by Choice, National Shelter and the National Association of Tenant Organisations found:

  • 83% of renters have no long-term security
  • 62% are scared to ask for a longer lease
  • 50% of tenants have been discriminated against
  • 50% of tenants fear being unfairly blacklisted
  • 21% of people have waited more than a week for urgent repairs
  • More than half of people surveyed rent because they can't afford to buy a home

This research also found that Australia lags behind other countries in terms of tenant protections and rental rights. You can read the full report here. You can also follow the popular hashtag #RentinOz on Twitter to hear directly from renters.

This is a rare opportunity to make positive changes to these laws, but we are also at risk of seeing consumer protections for tenants weakened. If this happens, more vulnerable tenants will be the ones hit hardest.

The groups most impacted would include people who have been homeless, people living with mental illness, people with a disability, older tenants, students, people from CALD backgrounds, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, women and children, and low income households.

The Tenants Union of Victoria founded the Make Renting Fair Campaign to make renting fair for everyone and to prevent it becoming an option of last resort for those with no other choices.

We are calling on Premier Daniel Andrews and the Victorian Government to:

  1. Improve security of tenure and rental access by:
    1. Removing ‘no reason’ eviction notices
    2. Protecting people from unjust tenancy database practices

  2. Protect tenant and their families by:
    1. Introducing minimum property standards that address health, safety and energy efficiency
    2. Creating incentives for landlords to undertake repairs

  3. Expand privacy and fair use protections by:
    1. Preventing unwanted visits and photography
    2. Allowing tenants to undertake fair modifications

  4. Protect low income and vulnerable tenants by:
    1. - Preventing unreasonable evictions
    2. - Implementing the Family Violence Royal Commission recommendations

  5. Rule out punitive measures that would harm tenants, particularly those at risk of homelessness, including:
    1. - Rejecting proposed changes to make evicting people quicker and easier
    2. - Rejecting the proposed enforcement of onerous and unfair lease terms
    3. - Rejecting the proposed special bond scheme for pet owners
    4. - Rejecting additional restrictions on stays by guests and family
    5. - Maintaining existing protections for highly vulnerable tenants 

Give Victoria's 1.2 million renters your support by signing the campaign petition here.

You can also read our campaign overview and our 10 Point Plan for more information.