Victoria currently has no requirements that a rental property be heated or even weatherproof and the Victorian Parliament recently rejected a bill to introduce minimum standards for rental properties, such as requiring that they have a toilet.
According to news.com.au the rejection means Victorian tenants will now be worse off than those in Tasmania, who have recently introduced minimum rental property standards.
Here’s what they had to say:
Greens MP Greg Barber, who lodged the bill with the Parliament, said minimum standards for rental properties would remain an issue for the party leading into the Victorian state election later this year.
Mr Barber noted Victoria would now be left behind on rental property minimum standards by Tasmania, which would become the first state to introduce them from October 1.
“There’s now a requirement that rental properties have toilets, but only in Tasmania,” Mr Barber told the Parliament.
Johan Scheffer, MLC for the Labor Party, rejected the bill on behalf of his party.
Mr Scheffer said the bill provided “good initial ideas”, but lacked evidence of sufficient research or costing for the Opposition to back it.
Brian Tee, Opposition Planning Minister, also responded to the bill — questioning ongoing approvals for new apartment developments by the Coalition government without minimum standards in place for developments.
Mr Tee said that he did not believe the states Planning Minister, Matthew Guy, would ever approve minimum standards for new apartment developments.
Responding more directly to the bill, Mr Tee said it was a shame the lack of research and costing meant the Opposition could not support it.
“This will take some of the shine off the accolade of Melbourne as the most livable city,” Mr Tee said.
The Government also rejected The Greens’ bill, despite describing it as “noble”.
James Bennett, TUV policy and liaison officer, said some Victorian tenants were living in substandard homes as a result.
“You can rent out a house with no heating or weatherproofing at the moment,” Mr Bennett said.
“The underlying issue is the severe lack of affordable housing, people often don’t have a choice: either they live in substandard property or become homeless.”
This is despite the a TUV review of Victorian rental figures from the 2011 Census which show about 42 per cent of the state’s renters are either families with children or single-parents with children.
Separate figures released by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute last year showed the proportion of rental properties occupied by families with children had risen from 27.6 per cent in 1981 to 36.4 per cent by 2011.
Mr Bennett said the numbers were likely to have grown since then.
“I think it’s more than likely those trends are continuing,” he said.
Mr Bennett said the figures were further reason to introduce minimum standards for rental properties in Victoria.
“We think that Victoria can and should, Tasmania has shown it is possible,” he said.
The Tasmanian legislation will set requirements that tenanted homes be:
- WEATHERPROOF and structurally sound
- CLEAN at the start of the tenancy
- ADEQUATELY ventilated
- HAVE a bathroom and toilet
- HAVE cooking facilities
- HAVE window coverings
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