Legistrative Council E-Petitions

E-petition Number
Support landlords impacted by COVID 19
The Petition of certain citizens of the State of Victoria draws to the attention of the Legislative Council that the COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) (Commercial Leases and Licences) Regulations 2020 are continuing to unfairly prejudice landlords across Victoria.

These regulations were implemented with insufficient consultation or discussion across the community. Instead, the Government determined that ‘we were all in this together’, without considering how these regulations may actually impact upon the day to day lives of landlords.

When drafting these regulations, the Government has assumed that every landlord in Victoria is either a large company who can afford reduced rental income or is an organisation or individual who owns multiple investment properties without any mortgage liabilities of their own. The Government has not ensured that self-funded retirees or individuals, who have scrimped and saved to afford an investment property, are adequately protected under these regulations.

Examples of the current perceived imbalance in rights between tenants and landlords under the regulations include:
(1) Landlords must offer rent relief to tenants who can provide evidence of their JobKeeper participation; and
(2) Landlords face the prospect of being fined, should they attempt to evict a tenant for non-payment of rent.

In addition to the problems that many landlords are encountering, it also appears that much of the Government support is favourable to tenants. Many landlords are simply not eligible for any relief under the current Government schemes and programs, such as the land tax concession. Nor are landlords offered deferrals on their own payments, whilst the regulations force a waiver of rent to be offered to tenants.

Further, the rental assistance packages and government grants are inadequate in providing the required widespread support for many landlords. In particular, the eligibility to obtain the latest landlord grants, aimed at protecting small, private landlords, is extremely narrow.

The Government needs to urgently review the current situation and understand that many individuals in the community, not just landlords, feel that these regulations simply do not provide support to landlords, many of whom have been the backbone of the state economy for generations. The Government needs to amend the requirements under the legislation to provide for a greater balance of power between landlords and tenants and enable landlords to better protect their own interests. Alternatively, a more adequate level of government support should be provided to landlords, in line with the level of support that is being provided to tenants.
The petitioners therefore request that the Legislative Council call on the Government to urgently review the COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) (Commercial Leases and Licences) Regulations 2020 to provide support for landlords in line with the level of support that is being provided to tenants.
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