Crowd of people wearing COVID-19 masks

Rent reduction and Victoria’s new COVID-19 laws made simple

Nico Lim
Things have changed – but thankfully, so have the rules.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, new temporary laws have been introduced to assist Victorian tenants facing financial hardship. Assistance with rent reduction and a six-month ban on rent increases and eviction, are some of the important changes you need to know about.

Do you already know you want to apply for a rent reduction? Our free, online rent reduction support can help you assess your situation and contact your landlord to negotiate a rent reduction.

For more information, Nico Lim and Cameron Horn (Tenancy lawyer, Anika Legal) explain: 

  • What the new ban involves
  • How to get your rent reduced
  • What to do if your landlord says no

What the new ban involves

Rent increases

There is now a six-month general ban on rent increases from the 29th of March 2020. If you get a notice of rent increase on or after the 29th of March, it is not valid!

Evictions & rent payments

There is also a general ban on evictions. There are, however, some exceptions to this, including causing serious damage to the property, using it for illegal activity, or putting other people in danger. We’re all going a little stir-crazy right now, but if you have managed to steer clear of these kinds of behaviours, your landlord will not be able to evict you – even if you are unable to pay your rent.

However, this does not mean you do not have to pay rent at all.

Any unpaid rent will continue to add up, and your landlord can make a claim for that outstanding rent. You should also be aware that when the general eviction ban is lifted, after 29 September 2020,  if you are 14 days behind on your rent, your landlord can give you a notice to vacate. To help avoid this situation, we recommend negotiating a rent reduction with your landlord as soon as possible.

How to get your rent reduced

If you have been financially affected by COVID-19, you might be able to get a rent reduction. Even a little extra room to breathe can make a big difference!

Anika’s rent reduction support is a completely free, online legal service designed to make the process as simple and easy as possible.

Once you’ve submitted your case with us, one of our team members will soon be in touch to discuss your situation. Then, we’ll work with you to prepare a personalised letter to your landlord seeking a rent reduction. In our experience, a letter from an accredited legal institution helps in getting a successful outcome.

If you want to know if you qualify for a rent reduction, we can help you out. To get started click here.

Some particularly vulnerable Victorians may also qualify for a COVID-19 rent relief grant. Check to see if you are eligible with Housing VIC.

If you’re wondering what to do about something in your home that’s broken, you can find everything you need to know here.

What to do if your landlord says no

As we have all learnt this year, things don't always go as planned.

We hope our services will help you reach a successful outcome, however, the flexibility of your landlord will depend on their situation. If you cannot come to an agreement, there are a few last resort options:

  1. Apply to Consumer Affairs Victoria. If they can’t help you reach an agreement with your landlord, they will refer you to the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria (DSCV) for a free mediation service.
  2. Apply to the Victorian Civil & Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) for an order reducing rent. Providing VCAT with evidence of a significant reduction of income, and any financial hardship, will be helpful.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the growing number of people who desperately need legal support, here at Anika, we have upped our efforts. We are committed to doing everything we can to ensure as many Victorian tenants have access to free, professional legal advice and a stable living situation.

If you want to apply for a rent reduction, or just want to know your options – we're here to help.

Start your case now

Contact us

If you want to learn more about how Anika can help you, fill in your details below, and we'll give you a call.

St Vincent De Paul
Victoria Legal Aid
Tenants Victoria
Word of mouth
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