Greens call on Minister to support renters at risk of homelessness


The Victorian Greens have written to Minister Horne and urged her to ensure no renter is forced into homelessness now that COVID-specific protections for renters have expired.

For weeks renters have raised concerns about the expiration of COVID protections they were granted by the government last year including a ban on evictions and rent increases.

These protections provided renters with a life jacket and prevented them from falling into housing insecurity and homelessness, and now that jacket has been ripped away.

With so many renters still out-of-work and struggling to pay for both food and rent, it’s important that the government extend and provide additional support for those among the hardest hit during this pandemic.

Renters have shared their fears with us about facing a wave of evictions now that the moratorium has expired and rents are able to be increased. A number of renters are also facing sizeable rental debts that they will now struggle to repay.

In their letter the Greens have called on Minister Horne to:

  • Guarantee that no Victorian renter will be evicted into homelessness during the pandemic
  • Fully waive all rental debt accrued by renters impacted during COVID 
  • Extend rent relief grants for renters still experiencing financial hardship from the pandemic
  • Introduce permanent rent caps to limit annual rent increases

Leader of the Victorian Greens, Samantha Ratnam, said the pandemic had shown us that it was possible to prevent evictions and end homelessness, and that it was unfathomable that the government would allow these measures to expire when so many were still feeling the financial impacts of COVID.

She added that the government was attempting to pull the wool over our eyes by focusing on new rental regulations which came into effect this week. These regulations are long overdue but were passed well before COVID and don’t take into account the devastating impact the pandemic has had on renters around the state. 

Quotes attributable to Leader of the Victorian Greens, Samantha Ratnam MLC:

"The ban on evictions and rent increases has provided a life jacket to countless renters across the state for months, and now the government wants to rip that jacket away.

"At a time when some Victorians are being forced to choose between food and rent, it’s outrageous that the government would allow these protections to expire and then use two-year-old regulations coming into effect to pull a fast one on Victorians.

"We know that despite these rental laws, the expiration of the COVID-specific protections means too many renters will now be at risk of evictions and homelessness.

"The pandemic has shown us that despite years of government inaction, we can keep a roof over people’s heads and end homelessness with political will.

"That’s why we’re urging Minister Horne to keep these protections in place and introduce new ones, so that we don’t move backwards in our fight to end homelessness in Victoria."