Victoria Civil Society Calls For Urgent Rental Reform
Thursday, 18th May 2017 at 5:08 pm
Close to 50 Victorian community organisations have joined forces to send a clear message to the Andrews government to reform Victoria’s rental laws to improve safety, stability and privacy for tenants in Victoria.
The Make Renting Fair campaign, launched on Monday, released a 10-point reform plan calling on the government to remove “no reason” eviction notices to reduce arbitrary evictions, set minimum property standards and prevent unreasonable evictions through fair and robust processes.
The campaign also called on the government to implement the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Family Violence and to reject “punitive measures” currently under review.
Such “punitive measures” included penalising pet owners through additional bond payments and restricting stays by guests and family members.
Tenants Union of Victoria CEO, Mark O’Brien said the campaign coincided with the government review of the Residential Tenancies Act and was a “perfect opportunity to give Victorian families the safety, stability and privacy that they need to live, work and raise their kids”.
“It is widely accepted that current protections for renters are inadequate at a time when more of us are renting for much longer periods of our lives. The current laws are 20 years old and were written before housing affordability became a major issue,” O’Brien said.
“The Make Renting Fair Campaign has one goal – to make renting in Victoria fair for everyone, regardless of where they live or how much money they have.”
The campaign is supported by Victoria’s peak bodies for homelessness and tenant rights, Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service, Council on the Ageing Victoria, Domestic Violence Victoria and The Salvation Army, among others.
The City of Yarra also signed on and a spokesperson for the campaign said it was likely other councils would follow suit.
City of Yarra mayor, Councillor Amanda Stone said the council would also be writing to the Minister for Consumer Affairs Marlene Kairouz, urging her to make rental laws fairer.
“Eighty- three per cent of renters in Victoria have no long-term security and face the possibility that they could be served with a ‘no reason’ eviction notice at any time. The balance of power is tipped firmly in favour of landlords, leaving individuals and families vulnerable,” Stone said.
The campaign comes on top of the latest national Rental Affordability Index which found low-income families were priced out of all metropolitan areas nationally and a report from CHOICE Australia published earlier this year which revealed widespread fear and discrimination in the Australian rental market.
“Unfortunately, those who are hit hardest by unfair rental laws are often those who are already facing disadvantage, including those who have experienced homelessness, people living with mental illness or a disability, older people and low income households,” Stone said.
A spokesperson for Make Renting Fairer campaign said since its launch a number of organisation had approached organisers to canvas it becoming a national appeal.