Statement—longer leases are welcome, but renters’ rights must not be reduced – VCOSS

Victoria’s peak social advocacy body has given qualified support to a State Government plan to make it easier for renters to broker five-year tenancy deals.

The below remarks are attributable to Victorian Council of Social Service CEO Emma King:

“VCOSS believes Victorians renters should be supported to stay in their homes for longer, should they choose to do so.

“However, we are concerned by suggestions renters would have to give up existing rights to qualify for these extended leases.

“The Government has floated possible landlord “incentives” to offer longer leases, potentially including making tenants pay more for property upkeep and maintenance, or harsher penalties for breaking long-term leases. (See RTA options paper options paper p.33)

“Forcing renters to pay the maintenance bill on their landlord’s home is a backwards step.

“For low-income and other vulnerable renters, such charges may even affect the sustainability of the tenancy.

“Ironically, it’s often older renters on fixed incomes who are the most attracted to longer leases, and they are the least able to pay for tradespeople or complete maintenance tasks themselves.

“Long term leases are a great idea, but renters’ rights must not be traded away in the process.”

You can read the full VCOSS position in our policy statement Strengthening Rental Laws (February 2017)

SOURCE: Statement, “Statement—longer leases are welcome, but renters’ rights must not be reduced”, VCOSS, 02 Feb 2017

Link to website

Link to “Strengthening Rental Laws: Submission to the Residential Tenancies Act options paper”

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