A huge win for #MakeRentingFair

7 Sep 2018

We’re thrilled the state parliament has passed the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill. Now renting can be safer and better for all Victorians, including those at risk of homelessness or experiencing family violence.

Last night, the Victorian Parliament passed new laws which bring welcome changes to the Residential Tenancies Act. The new laws are now the strongest rental protections in Australia.

As part of an extensive, three-year consultation process, our Homeless Law team contributed six evidence-based submissions, highlighting the direct insights of our clients, and learnings from our integrated legal representation and social work support. We’ve also worked closely with homelessness, housing, social service and legal assistance sector allies, including through the high-impact Make Renting Fair campaign, which has been led by Tenants Victoria.

After collectively campaigning long and hard, we congratulate the Victorian Parliament for passing these vital tenancy laws. In our work, we’ve seen ‘no reason’ evictions misused by landlords often for discriminatory and retaliatory reasons. Too often, this results in vulnerable tenants being kicked out of their homes with nowhere to go. Now, with these new laws, landlords need a lawful reason to evict someone. So tenants have the security they need from being unfairly evicted into homelessness.

Fairer laws for women and children, too

Through our Women’s Homelessness Prevention Project, we’ve also heard from women and their kids who have experienced family violence. Before these new laws, landlords could unfairly punish tenants for making personal safety modifications, like changing the locks or adding security to windows and doors. Letting tenants make small changes to their homes is not only fair, it’s crucial to the safety of thousands of Victorians.

Under the new laws, people experiencing family violence can terminate their rental agreements without being forced to pay debts caused by perpetrators. Tenants will no longer be forced to weigh-up their personal safety against the risk of crippling housing debts. Victoria’s new tenancy system will better support and protect people experiencing family violence, along with the wider community. It’s fairer and safer for everyone.

These Australia-wide, best practice changes will also address the power imbalance between tenants and landlords in the eviction process. We look forward to seeing the positive impact these new laws will have on preventing avoidable evictions, making housing safer for tenants and their families, and reducing the risk of homelessness for Victorians tenants.