Consumer Affairs Victoria has prepared information about your rights and responsibilities in areas we they are receiving increased enquiries about. Due to the regularly changing nature of circumstances in Victoria, they will update this information as often as possible. This page in particular is about housing and renting.
I’m struggling to pay my rent what do I do?
If you’re struggling to pay your rent Premier Daniel Andrews has announced urgent legislation that will protect tenants facing hardship during the pandemic.
Eligible Victorians will be able to access ‘rent relief payments’ up to $2000 as part of an $80 million fund.
To receive the payments, tenants must have already attempted to get a rental negotiation from their landlord.
Landlords will not be able to evict a tenant who can’t pay rent unless they cause damage, commit violence or engage in criminal activity.
If an agreement can’t be made, tenants and landlords are being told to visit Consumer Affairs Victoria.
My landlord is threatening to evict me if I can't pay rent. What can I do? Can I be evicted if I can’t pay my rent due to the impact of COVID-19?
The Victorian Government has now implemented an evictions moratorium. This means that from 15 April there is an interim 60 day stop on evictions for rental arrears where the tenant is in has now implemented an evictions moratorium. This will be followed by restrictions in place for 6 months for rental arrears evictions for those financially disadvantaged by COVID-19.
After the interim 60 day stop on rent arrears evictions, a landlord will be required to enter into negotiations on rent reduction in good faith with the tenant. If they are unsuccessful at reaching a mutually agreed outcome either tenant or landlord can seek assistance from Consumer Affairs Victoria. Only after negotiations have failed can a landlord seek to terminate the agreement. The Victorian Government will have discretion to assess whether it is fair and reasonable to evict in the circumstances of each case.
For you to be protected by the 60 day stop on evictions and the longer six month restrictions, your household needs to be able to demonstrate any 1 or more rent paying members of the household have:
- lost employment or income as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, or had a reduction in work hours or income as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, or
- had to stop working, or materially reduce the member’s work hours, because of— the member’s illness with COVID-19, or another member of the household’s illness with COVID-19, or the member’s carer responsibilities for a family member ill with COVID-19, and
- as a result of the above factors the weekly household income for the household has been reduced by at least 25% compared to the weekly household income for the household before the occurrence of any of the matters
What does the 'eviction moratorium' mean?
'Moratorium' means a temporary hold on something. Often that's a legal obligation, like following a contract and paying your rent.
The thing about a moratorium is that it runs out, and as soon as it does, anyone behind on rent might still have to pay up – unless they’ve already worked something out with their landlord. It is important to make an effort to come up with arrangements with your landlord before pursuing other options.
I’m struggling to pay my mortgage what do I do?
If you’re struggling to pay your mortgage you should contact your bank or lender in the first instance.
If you have a mortgage, talk to your lender about financial hardship. Some banks are offering 6-month repayment deferrals on mortgages for customers impacted by coronavirus.
You can find a list of bank hardship teams on the Australian Banking Association website.
I have recently become homeless or am worried about becoming homeless. Who can help?
- BeyondHousing can help if you are facing homelessness, at risk of losing your private rental or need an affordable place to live.
- The Youth Foyer provides accommodation to young people who are homeless (or at risk of homelessness), and who are studying or want to study.
- The Bridge Youth Service assists young people that are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless to obtain or maintain safe, secure and affordable housing. Call (03) 5831 2390.
- Rumbalara Aboriginal Co-operative provides financial counselling, and advocate for clients to get accommodation with housing providers and in the private rental market. Housing Services provide people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness with support and assistance to find affordable housing.
- Wintringham Housing - Over 50's
If you are over 50, struggling to make ends meet, want a quality affordable home and help when you need it then please contact Wintringham Housing. Call (03) 5822 0296.
- Salvocare Shepparton
To contact SalvoCare Community Service Centre for crisis and support services, family violence, homelessness and housing services, please call 03 5820 8000 from 9am to make an appointment. Address: 27 Wyndham Street Shepparton Vic 3630