Hume Riverina Community Legal Service and Beyond Housing sign open letter to Premier Daniel Andrews about Residential Tenancies Act review

NORTH East groups have urged the Victorian government to reject potential changes to tenancy laws they say would reduce the safety, stability and privacy of renters.

Deborah Fisher

Deborah Fisher

Hume Riverina Community Legal Service and Beyond Housing are concerned by proposals that could make evictions quicker and easier, allow landlords to impose additional lease conditions and place restrictions on tenants having guests to stay.

They are two of 54 organisations that signed an open letter to Premier Daniel Andrews on Thursday regarding the present review of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997.

We need to be protecting these people, not making things harder for them.

Deborah Fisher

Hume Riverina Community Legal Service lawyer Deborah Fisher said such options if adopted could disproportionately affect vulnerable Victorians, such as those with a mental illness.

“We need to be protecting these people, not making things harder for them,” she said.

Mrs Fisher said the service supported many of the proposed reforms, for example recommendations from the Royal Commission into Family Violence.

“Just think through the implications of some of these changes which swing the balance of power more to landlords than is perhaps intended or is wise,” she said.

Beyond Housing chief executive Celia Adams said the act needed to be fair and balanced for both tenants and landlords but also recognise people needed somewhere to call home, not just a roof over their heads. 

“Stability for tenants is also good for landlords,” she said.

“Generally speaking properties are better maintained, landlords can avoid re-letting costs, advertising and other costs associated with changing tenants on a regular basis.” 

New tenancy legislation and regulations are due to be introduced into the Victorian Parliament in early 2018.