State Government extends ban on rent hike increases, evictions to March next year

State Government extends ban on rent hike increases, evictions to March next year

The ban on evictions and rent hikes in Victoria has been extended again, but many tenants are still struggling to get rent reduced.

Treasurer Tim Pallas made the announcement on Friday morning following news Victoria had recorded 81 new coronavirus cases and 59 more deaths.

The rent and eviction moratorium had previously been in place until December 31.

“We’ve seen more people facing housing and financial distress with renters particularly hard hit due to the coronavirus and the convergence of factors including their age and their employment conditions,” Mr Pallas told reporters.

“So as they’re feeling greater uncertainty in terms of their material circumstances, the one thing they shouldn’t have to feel is that their home is at risk, their place of sanctuary, their place of security in the current environment.

“So that need for certainty, I think, has been a clear message from a variety of stakeholders to the Government.”

Mr Pallas also announced the current residential tenancies dispute resolution scheme would also be extended until March 28, 2021.

“So both parties can work together in good faith to reach an agreement that both parties are happy with and in the event that they need assistance, they can be assured that that assistance will be there to help them to come to a meeting of minds about what constitutes fair and recast arrangements in the current environment,” he said.

Since the scheme began, it has received more than 93,000 contacts from Victorians seeking assistance with their rental arrangements.

Victoria’s horror death toll climbed to 660 on Friday after 59 deaths were reported.

But Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed 53 of those had occurred in the weeks prior.

“I want to stress today‘s report, reported to include 53 tragedies, 53 people who passed away prior to yesterday. This is in relation to a reconciliation of data between private providers, the Commonwealth, and our public health team,” he said.

“Everyone is doing their very best to reconcile the data as quickly as possible.”

There are 329 Victorians in hospital and 20 of those in intensive care.