Victorian Government Commercial Rent Relief Leaves Renters Behind


The Victorian government has announced it is “exactly the right time” to provide rent relief for commercial leases worth $80 million, while Victorian working renters have been left behind.

This announcement shows that the state government has the money to provide support, yet is failing workers in most need of relief. 

Working renters are yet to see decisive action to provide relief from eviction with another month’s wages lost. Renters in casual work hard-hit by the lockdown are left unsure with how to cover next month’s rent or food on the table, while regional Victorians are being pushed out, faced with further inflated rents. 

RAHU clearly states that this is a serious governmental failure to leave working renters out of this rent relief scheme, to get ‘back on their feet’ alone.
The announced scheme demonstrates the government can make the reasonable action of regulating rent as a proportion of earnings. If provisions for businesses can help power an economic recovery, working renters employed by these same businesses must be provided the relief to keep a roof over their heads.

RAHU strongly urges the Victorian State Government to:

  • Apply the Commercial Rent Relief Scheme to Residential Renters

RAHU will continue to organise for our demands to: 

  1. Reinstate the COVID19 Rental Protections 
  2. Immediately enact an amnesty on rental payments for renters affected for any reason by COVID19 for the length of Stage 4 Restrictions
  3. Provide a $500 stimulus support payment for every rental household in Victoria

Quotes attributable to:

Owen – Hospitality worker and RAHU member 

Going into each lockdown I’ve got no idea when I’m going to receive income again, but I know when rent is due. I’m expected to pay rent regardless of how much I actually have and it’s giving me stress and anxiety. 

Why should businesses be exempt from the tithe that renting imposes on their earnings when we as workers are still expected to pay the same rent on a much lower income?

Eirene Tsolidis Noyce – Secretary, RAHU

Renters deserve to keep the roof over their head as we go back to work. It’s “exactly the right time” for the Victorian Government to provide the same support to working renters, and we’ll continue to demand they do.

The government has proven it will help commercial tenants. It is appalling that the same assistance hasn’t been given to working renters who have easily lost 40% of their wages in the last few lockdowns combined.

After 6 weeks of lost wages, there should be no reason a casual worker shouldn’t receive a rent reduction equivalent to the work they’ve lost.

Last year, commercial tenancies received the same moratorium legislation as renters, yet with specific regulations and oversight to ensure reductions rather than deferred debt.
Now, the Victorian Government is leaving thousands of working renters in the cold with their failure to provide equivalent relief.

J.R. Hewitt
Media and Communications Officer
Contact: [email protected]

The Renters And Housing Union (RAHU) is Australia’s largest member-run Union of renters and people in precarious housing. We collectively organise for the right to safe and secure housing through self-advocacy, education, and frontline eviction defence.  

Find out more and join RAHU

[email protected] | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter