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PROTECT RENTERS DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Brunswick is a popular place to call home for musicians, artists, entertainers and hospo workers. These people contribute to the rich cultural tapestry of our suburb. But now, many of them have lost their livelihoods, almost overnight, and are facing an uncertain future. 

In April 2020, the state government confirmed it would legislate a ban on evictions, and provide $80 million in rental relief for people who rent their home, almost of Brunswick. There is a further $420 million relief to landlords. 

If a tenant can’t pay their rent, they are expected to contact their landlord or property manager as soon as possible to ask for a rent reduction.

If tenants and landlord can’t agree or if the landlord refuses to negotiate, the tenant then must engage in a dispute resolution process with their landlord and Consumer Affairs Victoria’s dispute resolution service. If you're unsure on how to do this, my office can help, contact us. 

To help cover any shortfall in rent, tenants (who meet the financial requirements below) will be able to apply to receive rent support of up to $2,000. This grant is paid directly to the landlord. Tenants are only eligible if:

  • The rent is still above 30% after their negotiation with the landlords
  • They earn less than $100k
  • They have less than $5k in savings
  • They’ve done CAV-facilitated mediation or they’ve registered their agreement with their landlord

Landlords will not be able to blacklist tenants who are unable to pay rent because of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Tenants may still be able to be evicted for other breaches of the tenancy agreement (eg damage to the property, using it for criminal activity, or serious violence). This is backdated to 29 March 2020, so any eviction notice since that date will have no effect.

While the above is promising, we're worried that the onus to reach agreements is too heavily heaped on the tenant. I've spoken to many renters in Brunswick and dispute their best efforts, they claim, landlords are not coming to the negotiating table, and they afraid of accruing large debts to the landlord during this crisis. 

 

PROTECT RENTERS DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC

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