Victorian tenants who have struck agreements with their landlords to drop their rent amid the effects of coronavirus are paying 31 per cent less on average.
Attorney-General Jill Hennessy has revealed the average decrease while being grilled at a parliamentary inquiry investigating the state government’s response to COVID-19.
During the pandemic, Victorian tenants seeking rent reductions, their landlords and agents have been encouraged to reach agreements and register them with Consumer Affairs Victoria.
Emergency laws passed in the state on March 29 also introduced a new dispute resolution process for when parties can’t come to an agreement independently.
That will last until September.
Ms Hennessy said more than 15,000 people have contacted Consumer Affairs making inquiries about residential tenancies during the pandemic.
More than 6800 changed rental agreements have been struck without any need for dispute resolution.
Almost 1270 others were reached after assistance teams stepped in to help resolve disputes, with that process taking about six days on average.
Where an agreement has been struck, weekly rent has decreased by an average of 31 per cent, or about $184.
There are still cases were agreement hasn’t been reached, with 81 residential tenancy matters referred to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
Since May 12, when a chief resolution officer has been able to accept disputes referred by Consumer Affairs Victoria, 216 matters have also been sent their way.
“There’s no doubt that it’s taken some time to try and get things in and settled,” Ms Hennessy told the Public Affairs and Estimates Committee on Tuesday.
“But I think that data demonstrates that we are actually being able to strike positive agreements with people, for this sunset period of six months around residential tenancies.”