Campaign spokesperson and CEO of Tenants Victoria, Mark O’Brien, said ‘The acknowledgement that renters actually matter is an important milestone for Victoria. Up until now, the concerns of renters were either ignored or dismissed – but that appears to be changing.’
This outcome is a credit to the leadership of the Premier and the work done by the Minister for Consumer Affairs Marlene Kairouz, Minister for Housing Martin Foley and a range of other Labor MPs. It follows almost a year of campaigning by over 50 community services, local governments and others under the Make Renting Fair banner. For the first time in Victoria, we have seen thousands of Victorians mobilising to demand fair rental laws.’
‘The Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) is twenty years old and the holes are showing. It was made for a time when renting was only temporary, not a long-term or life-long proposition. This first round of reforms to the RTA is long overdue and very welcome. The quicker they are put to Parliament and turned into law the better for the community and we ask all sides of politics to get behind this package.’
However, Mr O’Brien also warned that there was more work to do before the Government could claim that ‘renting is fair’ in Victoria.
‘While these reforms are a significant step in the right direction, the Premier’s announcement that they ‘make renting fair’ for tenants is still premature. Renters need greater safety, stability and privacy and, even after these reforms, Victoria will still lack minimum property standards and adequate safeguards against eviction for people experiencing family violence and/or at risk of homelessness - among other things.’
‘We hope further changes will follow in the coming months and our campaign will keep working together with members of the community and their political representatives until we can all stand up and say our rental laws give everyone the same chance in life, regardless of whether they rent or own their home.’