At the risk of stirring memories you have tried desperately to bury, please cast your mind back to 24th April 2020 when Victoria was in Lockdown #1 and the Covid 19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) Act was introduced which temporarily amended the Residential Tenancies Act.
From that day to this (and until the end of March 2021) the legislation has changed the following rules.
- owners are prohibited from increasing the rent,
- owners are prohibited from requesting a tenant to vacate for not paying their full rent if they are impacted by Covid.
- (in practice) required an owner and tenant to agree to a reduced rent or lease term if the tenant satisfies Covid hardship conditions.
Over the last 10 months of these amended rules the market rent for most apartments fell and vacancies rose meaning very few owners would have chosen to increase the rent or vacated a tenant who was genuinely impacted even if they wished to.
Almost all owners and tenants were very understanding of the situation we all faced through 2020 and as agents we were heartened by people’s compassion as we brokered hundreds of lease variations. There were only a few tenants who took unfair advantage of the situation and if they remain behind in their rent after the temporary protection measures end, owners would be forgiven for taking the requisite action to resolve the situation once the welfare of the tenant was confirmed. (aka – asking the tenant to vacate)
In a interesting fluke of timing on the 29th March 2021 there are 132 new rules coming into force for residential property in Victoria that were originally scheduled to commence in July 2020 but were postponed due to Covid. I will update you more about these 132 new regulations that need to be complied with soon.
With life slowly getting back to some form of normal, apartments are now leasing faster and vacancies are falling so hopefully a recovery of rental rates will ensue over the next 12 months.