Peak tenants body asks to see ‘fine print’ on long-term leases

Tenants Victoria (formerly Tenants Union of Victoria/Tenants Victoria) has welcomed the State Government’s intention to create greater long-term security for Victorian renters, but they have also warned that key details are missing on how the new longer fixed-term leases would work in practice.

Housing and consumer advocates are seeking urgent assurance from Minister Marlene Kairouz’ office that the creation of longer fixed-term leases will not be bundled together with additional financial costs and the loss of vital tenancy protections.

Tenants Victoria CEO, Mark O’Brien, said that long-term leases were a good idea, but that without seeing the legislation and any prescribed agreements it was impossible to say if they would help tenants or undermine their security.

‘What we need are longer fixed-term leases that increase choice and retain existing protections for tenants. With more people renting for longer periods of their life, any move to undermine tenants’ rights will have a major impact on the Victorian community.’

Mr O’Brien went on to say that longer fixed-term leases are only a solution for a small number of renters as many people do not want to be locked into long fixed-term agreements due to high exit costs if their circumstances change.

‘The real way to fix our broken rental market is by addressing the core issues of safety, stability and privacy for Victoria’s 1.5 million renters through the current review of the Residential Tenancies Act.’

‘We will be seeking further clarification of this policy announcement and look forward to working with the Government and others in the Victorian Parliament to make sure that any new laws make things better, not worse, for people in rented housing. Tenants should not be second-class citizens in their own homes.’

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Tenants Victoria acknowledges the support of the Victorian Government.