It’s grim: Victorian renters face big struggles three years on


Many Victorian renters are struggling to have their rights realised, three years after rental laws and tenant protections were significantly strengthened in Victoria.

A new VCOSS report, ‘Renting in Victoria’, has been released to mark three years since Victoria introduced world-leading renters’ rights and protections.

Based largely on engagement with frontline community sector workers who support struggling renters, the report finds:

  • Too many rental properties are still not meeting minimum standards, with mould a common concern.
  • Rents are way too expensive.
  • Evictions are confusing – and remain too common.
  • Family violence challenges still persist, and
  • VCAT is hard to access and navigate.

The report also identifies supply as an ongoing issue, with workers reporting “it’s near impossible to find a place”.

“Renters are feeling powerless and insecure. It’s a grim situation,” VCOSS CEO Juanita Pope said.

“The hardship currently facing renters is staggering.”

“Our rental regime is being tested by unforeseen circumstances. It’s a perfect storm of low vacancy rates, stagnant wages and income support, an over-cooked property market and the rising cost-of-living.”

“Victoria has some of the best rental laws in the world, but they’re not being properly enforced. The Victorian Government is acting with a new Renting Taskforce, but further action is needed to genuinely protect renters.” she said.


Almost universally, frontline workers consulted for the report called for stronger monitoring and enforcement action by Consumer Affairs Victoria, which manages Victoria’s rental laws.

(Last month, the Victorian Government announced a new Renting Taskforce, with additional resources to employ more intelligence analysts, inspectors, investigators and lawyers – a move welcomed by VCOSS.)

The report calls for consideration of a new scheme, where property investors would be required to engage an independent assessor to verify a property meets minimum standards before it can be leased. 

“This would put the onus on landlords to ensure properties actually meet minimum standards,” Ms Pope said.

The report also calls for the Victorian Government to:

  • ESTABLISH a formula for fair rent increases
  • FORCE landlords to proactively explain and justify rent increases
  • EXPAND rental minimum standards (to include cooling, insulation, draughtproofing and hot water systems) and
  • BUILD even more public and community housing (in addition to existing commitments).

The Victorian Government’s Housing Statement aims to deliver 80,000 new homes each year across the state over the next decade. We believe at least 6,000 of these 80,000 new dwellings should be new social housing dwellings (a target of at least 60,000 new public and community homes over 10 years.)

VCOSS is the peak body for Victoria’s social and community sector, and the state’s premier social advocacy body.

We work towards a Victoria free from poverty and disadvantage, where every person and community experiences genuine wellbeing.

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Media Contact:
Ryan Sheales
Director of Communications
0418 127 153

Past media releases

Life remains “grim” for renters, three years after protections were strengthened.
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Extreme heat is a threat to everybody, but especially those living in poverty or disadvantage.
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Victoria should stop allowing energy retailers to pass on marketing costs to people using Victoria’s no-frills default power offer.
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Juanita Pope has been appointed CEO of the Victorian Council of Social Service.
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Dan Andrews has lived up to his promise not to waste a minute.
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We break down which groups are subjected to the most poverty, and where they live.
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VCOSS acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country, and we pay respect to Elders and Ancestors. Our business is conducted on sovereign, unceded Aboriginal land. The VCOSS offices are located on Wurundjeri Woiwurrung land in central Naarm.