MEDIA RELEASE: Victoria’s Housing Statement – renter rights and higher density a major win, social housing still to be addressed at scale

September 20, 2023

The Andrews Government has released an ambitious package of housing measures aimed at improving housing outcomes across the state, many in line with recommendations made by Per Capita’s Centre for Equitable Housing (CEH) in our report Regulating Rentals: What Works? and our Submission to the Inquiry into the Rental and Housing Affordability Crisis in Victoria.

These range from improving renters rights, renewing Victorian social housing stock, and encouraging higher density supply and affordable housing close to transport links. While details are yet to be released, the announcement indicates a significant development in the state governments’ commitment to addressing housing issues. However, significantly more investment will still be needed to ensure Victorians have sufficient social housing options.

Renters will no longer have to stump up for two bonds when moving from one home to the next, rent bidding will be made illegal. While the Plan stops short of implementing rent stabilisation measures, landlords will no longer be able to evict tenants on fixed term contracts simply to raise the rent for the next tenant. Eviction notice periods are also to be extended from 60 to 90 days, adding some security to tenants, while mandatory registration and training in the real estate industry and tenant data protection should increase in the professionalisation of our rental sector.

Also announced was the release of significant tracts of government land for high density development around the city’s transport hubs. The government will also roll out inclusionary zoning fast track options for larger developments, requiring 10% of dwellings be affordable. This measure falls short of the 15% social housing requirement proposed by CEH, but, depending on the details, it should help increase the supply of affordable dwellings in the right locations.

The rebuilding of 44 public housing high rise towers by 2051 is expected to increase the number of residents from 10,000 to 30,000 on the same site. The renewal of our aging social housing stock is welcome news, although the shortfall of social housing stock will remain a critical issue.

Quotes attributable to Matt Lloyd-Cape, Director for the Centre for Equitable Housing:

“There is a lot yet to see in the detail of these policy announcements, but the Andrews Government has shown a strong commitment to evidence-based housing policy.”

“Renters are the immediate big winners from the announced changes, but it is hoped that measures such as inclusionary zoning, and higher density around our transport hubs will lead to better housing options for Victorians into the future.”

“The renewal programme for high rise social housing, and the expansion of social housing through the Accelerator Fund are welcome news, but still not yet at the scale needed to replenish our much depleted social housing stock.”

For media enquiries contact Matt Lloyd-Cape: 0468 321 799