Worried about your rights when it comes to renting during Covid-19? We have compiled a list of facts to help you navigate through what is and is not allowed when it comes to renting.
We highly encourage all renting students to check out Consumer Affairs Victoria for a full list of resources that may provide some clarity around your personal situation.
What if I can no longer pay my rent?
Contact your landlord/agent as soon as possible and explain your situation. Seek to agree on a possible payment plan, and get it confirmed in writing.
Tenants Victoria have confirmed that as of 29/03/2020, National Cabinet has agreed to a moratorium (a pause) on evictions over the next six months for “commercial and residential tenancies in financial distress who are unable to meet their commitments due to the impact of coronavirus”. They will look to release more details on this when possible.
Due to the changing circumstances surrounding these guidelines, Tenants Victoria are asking people to share how the COVID-19 shutdowns are affecting their renting situation: you can tell them your story here.
I’ve lost my job and can’t pay rent, but I’m on a fixed term tenancy.
If you would like to leave the property/cancel your tenancy before your agreement has ended, contact your landlord in the first instance to try and negotiate an early end. If they do not agree, tenants can then apply to VCAT based on financial hardship.
If you are still worried, some non-for-profit groups may be able to help. Some tenants may be eligible for referral to a financial counsellor. Start by contacting the National Debt Helpline to find out more.
Can a landlord inspect my house right now?
Agents can still conduct private inspections of residential properties so long as the social distancing rule is adhered to, however if you have conditions that make you exceptionally vulnerable to COVID-19, you can apply to VCAT to make an order that you be “exempted” from certain provisions of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (Vic) such as entry by other people into your rented home.
Where can I get help?
For legal advice, search for your local Tenancy Assistance & Advocacy Program
For financial support, check your eligibility for various benefits with Aus Gov Services
For Crisis Accommodation and help if you are being evicted, contact DHHS
If you want to talk to someone about how your rental situation has affected you, the Swinburne Crisis Line is still operational over weekends, and from 5pm – 9am weekdays.
Phone: 1300 854 144
SMS: 0488 884 145