Coronavirus (COVID-19) and your rights

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A State of Emergency has been declared in Victoria due to the serious risk to public health posed by coronavirus (COVID-19). This page sets out rights and responsibilities in areas we are receiving increased enquiries about. We are reviewing the information on this page in light of restrictions announced on 7 July. For the latest information about the Stay at Home and Restricted Activities directions, visit the Department of Health and Human Services website.

See the new restrictions that apply to restricted postcodes from midnight 1 July 2020.‚Äč

Housing

New temporary laws have been introduced to protect Victorian tenants and landlords from the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Tenants and landlords must comply with the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 and the COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) Act 2020. The new laws apply for six months from 29 March 2020. 

The new laws create a moratorium on evictions, facilitate rent relief for eligible tenants, suspend rental increases, and establish a new dispute resolution process. The laws also make changes to how a tenant or landlord may end a tenancy during the six-month moratorium period. Details are set out under ‘Information for tenants’ and ‘Information for landlords’ on this page.

Where a tenant is seeking a reduction in rent, we encourage landlords, agents and tenants to try to reach an arrangement, put it in writing, and register it with us. If you can’t reach an agreement, you can use the new, free dispute resolution service. See a:

Tenants, landlords, estate agents and property managers are encouraged to read the information on this page to understand the changes prior to taking further action. 

The laws described on this page apply to residential tenancies. For information about commercial leases, see Commercial and retail leases and visit the Victorian Small Business Commission.

New laws help protect you as a tenant from eviction and allow you to negotiate a rent reduction with your landlord if you’re suffering financial hardship due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

The laws apply for six months from 29 March 2020. This means you can’t be evicted if you are served a notice to vacate on or after this date because you can’t pay your rent due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

These laws apply if you’re a tenant or sub-tenant:

  • in a residential property
  • living in a rooming house
  • in social housing
  • under a site agreement at a caravan park, or
  • in specialist disability accommodation.

Information about reduced rent agreements

See the new process for negotiating a reduced rental agreement.

How long will my new rent be frozen for? How much can the landlord raise the rent by after that time?

The laws are in effect for six months from 29 March 2020. Your landlord cannot increase the rent during that time. They can increase the rent after that time, but only within the terms of your lease agreement and the Residential Tenancies Act. If your landlord issues you with a Notice of rent increase after this time and you think that an increase is not reasonable, you can apply to us for a rent assessment.

What if I can’t get anywhere with the property manager?

If you have contacted your property manager to negotiate a rent reduction, you should expect them to reply in a timely manner and confirm they have put your request to the landlord.

Agreement to a rent reduction is preferred to a rent deferral. Any agreement to a deferral may result in accumulating a debt you may be unable to repay at the end of the moratorium. If you are not happy with being asked to defer and later repay rent, you should start the dispute resolution process.

If you are not happy with their response, or feel it is taking too long, you can request our help. You do not need to have agreement or approval from your landlord or property manager to seek help. If you have been unsuccessful in reaching a reduced rent agreement, you should start the dispute resolution process.

What conditions should I agree to in the reduced rent agreement?

You and your landlord should try to reach an agreement to reduce the rent, rather than deferring payment. If you agree to defer payment, you may end up with a debt you cannot repay at the end of the moratorium.

Your circumstances may be relevant to eligibility for a rent relief grant, but should not be a condition for a rent reduction agreement.

You and your landlord’s personal circumstances may change over coming months. You might reflect this in your agreement by putting in a review date or a trigger, such as change in employment or income status.

Can I be put on a blacklist for not paying rent?

The landlord must not list you on a residential tenancy database (blacklist) if you are unable to pay rent because of coronavirus (COVID-19). For more information, view Tenancy databases (blacklists).

Can a support person help me negotiate a reduced rent agreement?

The service is designed to be simple and easily accessible to most tenants. You do not need a lawyer or other advisor to get a positive outcome, and the process is designed to be fair for all parties.

We recognise that you may need additional support to represent your interests or communicate details about the hardship you face as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19), and that person may be with you or represent you at any stage. You should make sure you both understand what they are authorised to say or agree to on your behalf.

Examples where this may be appropriate include:

  • You need a translator – please call the free translation service on 1300 405 282 (9am to 5pm Monday to Friday – except public holidays.)
  • A financial counsellor is working with you on a number of financial matters, including your ability to pay rent
  • A tenancy agency is helping you
  • You have sought advice from a community legal centre due to the complexity of your situation.

Information about ending a tenancy

What if I’ve already been served a notice to vacate?

The new laws apply for six months from 29 March 2020. During this period, you cannot be evicted from rented premises unless the landlord has obtained an order from the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) terminating the tenancy.

  • If your landlord served a notice to vacate on or after 29 March 2020, it has no effect.
  • A Notice to vacate which was issued prior to 29 March 2020 and seeks to evict you on or after that date also has no effect.

The landlord may seek an order through VCAT to terminate the tenancy under specified circumstances. More detail is provided in the VCAT section on this page.

Can I end my periodic (month-to-month) tenancy?

You can end your periodic tenancy by issuing a notice of intention to vacate as normal. Use the Notice to landlord of rented premises (Word, 1.9MB). For more information, view If the tenant or resident wants to leave. Fees may apply if you end your tenancy in this way.

You can also end your periodic tenancy by giving a 14-day notice of intention to vacate, if you need to move for the following reasons:

  • you require special or personal care
  • you are moving into public or community housing
  • you require temporary crisis accommodation
  • you are a Specialist disability accommodation (SDA) resident and have been given a notice that the SDA provider’s registration, or enrolment of the SDA dwelling, has been revoked
  • you are suffering severe hardship
  • you have been notified that the landlord has applied to VCAT to terminate the tenancy.

You do not need to apply to VCAT to end your tenancy in these circumstances.

Can I end my fixed-term tenancy early?

You can end your fixed-term tenancy by providing a Notice of intention to vacate:

  • giving 14 days’ notice, if you need to move for the following reasons:
  • you require special or personal care
  • you are moving into public housing
  • you require temporary crisis accommodation
  • you are suffering severe hardship
  • you are a Specialist disability accommodation (SDA) resident and have been given a notice that the SDA provider’s registration, or enrolment of the SDA dwelling, has been revoked
  • you have been notified that the landlord has applied to VCAT to terminate the tenancy.

You do not need to apply to VCAT to end your tenancy in these circumstances.

Are there circumstances when I won’t be charged fees for ending a tenancy early?

You will not be liable to pay lease break fees or charges if you end your tenancy early by giving 14 days’ notice of intention to vacate in the following circumstances:

  • you require special or personal care
  • you are moving into public housing
  • you require temporary crisis accommodation
  • you are suffering severe hardship
  • you are a Specialist disability accommodation (SDA) resident and have been given a notice that the SDA provider’s registration, or enrolment of the SDA dwelling, has been revoked
  • you have been notified that the landlord has applied to VCAT to terminate the tenancy.

You do not need to apply to VCAT to end your tenancy in these circumstances.

If you end the tenancy due to severe financial hardship or family violence reasons, you can apply for a referral to VCAT.

VCAT will make a determination about whether it is reasonable and proportionate to end the tenancy, and in those situations, no fees are payable.

To end your fixed term tenancy without attracting lease break fees, you must:

  1. Give your landlord a written notice of intention to vacate.
  2. Specify a termination date in that notice that is at least 28 days after the date on which you give the notice to your landlord.
  3. Ensure the termination date is not earlier than the date on which the fixed-term agreement period is due to end. For example, if your tenancy is due to expire on 31 August, you must specify a termination date of 31 August.

If your notice of intention to vacate specifies a termination date that is earlier than the end of the fixed-term agreement period, you may be required to pay lease break fees for ending the tenancy early.

My landlord has been referred by Consumer Affairs Victoria to VCAT – if I want to end the tenancy do I have to wait for this process to complete?

If the landlord has lodged an application to VCAT to end the tenancy and you also want to end it, you may issue a Notice of intention to vacate giving 14 days’ notice.

You cannot be charged fees for ending the tenancy in these circumstances.

If my landlord is referred to VCAT to end my tenancy, how long will I have before I have to leave?

VCAT will consider whether it is reasonable and proportionate to end the tenancy in the circumstances. You should not assume that you will be required to leave. You should prepare for the VCAT hearing with evidence about the impact of eviction on you. There are supports available to assist you if you don’t feel confident. These free services are:

  • tenancy advocates
  • community legal centres
  • translation services
  • Indigenous supports.

If VCAT determines that the tenancy will end, then the amount of time you will be given to leave after VCAT orders the tenancy to end depends on the circumstances.

VCAT could order you to leave immediately if it finds that:

  • you or your visitor have caused serious damage
  • you are endangering safety of neighbours, the landlord (or their agent), or contractors/employees of the landlord
  • you have been given a notice to leave under s368 of the Residential Tenancies Act in relation to serious acts of violence
  • the rented premises are unfit for human habitation or destroyed

VCAT must give you at least 14 days to leave if it finds that:

  • you have made serious threats or intimidation against the landlord, their agent or their contractors/employees
  • you have failed to comply with a VCAT order under s212 of the Residential Tenancies Act
  • you have made illegal use of the property
  • you have assigned or sublet without the landlord’s consent

VCAT must give you at least 28 days to leave if it finds that:

  • you failed to comply with your obligations under the tenancy agreement or the Residential Tenancies Act, including by not paying rent, in circumstances where you could have done so without suffering severe hardship
  • you have not complied with a VCAT order excluding a pet from the premises
  • VCAT must give you at least 60 days to leave if:
  • your landlord is selling the premises
  • your landlord or their family member are moving in.

I am feeling pressure from my landlord or property manager to agree to end my tenancy, and I don’t know how to respond.

You cannot be evicted from your residential property without the landlord obtaining an order from VCAT to do so.

There are limited circumstances where VCAT can receive an application for termination, and it will consider whether ending the tenancy is reasonable and proportionate in the circumstances.

If you are having trouble paying your rent, you should seek a reduced rent agreement with your landlord. See a guide to the process for tenants.

There are supports available to you if you are unable to effectively communicate with your landlord or property manager. These free services are:

  • tenancy advocates
  • community legal centres
  • translation services
  • Indigenous supports.

If you want advice on your tenancy before taking action, you can also ask questions by lodging an enquiry.

What happens if I am in social housing?

You cannot be evicted from your social housing without the landlord obtaining an order from VCAT to do so.

There are limited circumstances in which VCAT may consider whether it is reasonable and proportionate to evict you from your social housing. In addition to the matters listed above, these include if the landlord of the premises is:

  • a statutory authority, and the premises are required for a public purpose after the termination date
  • the Director of Housing, and:
    • the premises were provided as transitional housing by the Director of Housing and the tenant is unreasonably refusing to accept an offer of alternative accommodation
    • the premises are intended for repair, renovation, rebuilding or demolition which cannot occur without the tenant vacating
    • the tenant has committed drug offences in the premises or in a common area, or
    • the tenant commits a prescribed indictable offence
  • a public statutory authority and the tenant has misled them regarding their eligibility for public or social housing 

Further information for tenants

Financial assistance may be available to support you

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) offers a new rent relief grant for those facing financial hardship. 

Eligible tenants can apply for rent relief if they register an agreement they have reached with their landlord with us, or use our dispute resolution process to reach a reduced rent agreement. Learn more about the rent relief grant and check your eligibility under this scheme.

If you are not eligible for a rent relief grant, there is a range of information and other services available to support you. You may also be eligible for Commonwealth Rent Assistance through Centrelink.

What if I am experiencing family violence?

The laws bring forward the commencement of amendments contained in the Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2018 to protect renters who are experiencing family violence or personal violence.

Persons who have been subjected to family violence or personal violence may apply for a referral to VCAT for an order to terminate or vary the existing tenancy agreement. These applications are included in the list of urgent matters which VCAT will continue to hear whilst the laws are in effect.

If you are escaping harm from family violence, safe accommodation is available. Safesteps is Victoria’s 24/7 family violence support service for advice, help and support. Call 1800 015 188 or email safesteps@safesteps.org.au. If you feel unsafe at home and it is an emergency, call police on Triple Zero (000).

If you are experiencing family violence from someone who resides in your rental property, you can apply for an intervention order to exclude them from the property. To apply for an intervention order, visit the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria. You can also apply for an interim intervention order in person at a local Magistrates' Court.

Where can I learn more? 

To stay updated on changes to renting laws, subscribe to our email list.

You can also ask questions by lodging an enquiry.

New laws support landlords and help protect tenants from eviction in residential properties, other than in exceptional circumstances, and allow for the rent to be reduced if they are suffering financial hardship.

The laws apply for six months from 29 March 2020. If you have served a Notice to vacate on or after 29 March 2020 to a tenant who cannot pay their rent because of financial hardship resulting from the coronavirus, it is not effective.

The laws apply to you if you are:

  • the landlord of a residential property,
  • the operator of a rooming house,
  • the owner of a caravan park, or
  • a provider of specialist disability accommodation.

Information about reduced rent agreements

See the new process for negotiating a reduced rental agreement.

What if my tenant refuses to pay rent?

Contact the tenant to determine why they have stopped paying rent. You cannot evict the tenant for non-payment of rent unless you can establish that the non-payment is in circumstances where the tenant could comply without suffering severe hardship.

If that is the case, you may seek a Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) order to have the tenancy terminated on the ground that the tenant has breached their obligations under the Residential Tenancies Act or the tenancy agreement.

In this case, contact us.

Please include appropriate evidence to support your reason for seeking a VCAT decision, such as correspondence from the tenant advising that they are not paying.

We will determine whether one of the exceptions applies and refer it to VCAT for determination if appropriate.

If the tenant is not paying rent due to the impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19), you should try to come to an agreement with them about the rent they can afford to pay.

See the new process for negotiating a reduced rental agreement

Under these temporary laws, tenants can break their lease early, or have their fixed term rental period reduced, in some circumstances. The process for claiming the bond remains the same.

Contact us for further information.

How long will the new rent be frozen for, and how much can I increase the rent by after this period?

The laws are in effect for six months from 29 March 2020. You will not be able to increase the rent during that time. You can increase the rent after that, but only by a reasonable amount.

What conditions can I put into the reduced rent agreement?

You and your tenant should try to reach an agreement to reduce the rent, rather than your tenant deferring payment. If you agree to deferred payment, your tenant may end up with a debt they cannot repay at the end of the moratorium.

Your tenant’s circumstances may be relevant to eligibility for a rent relief grant, but this should not be a condition of a rent reduction agreement.

You and your tenant’s personal circumstances may change over coming months. You might reflect this in your agreement by putting in a review date or a trigger, such as change in employment or income status.

Information about ending a tenancy

What if I had issued a Notice to vacate prior to 29 March? 

If the notice was issued prior to 29 March and seeks to evict a tenant after that date, it is not effective. You cannot evict your tenant unless VCAT has determined it is reasonable and proportionate in the circumstances. Please contact us for determination of whether the situation falls within a category VCAT can consider under the new laws – more detail is provided in the VCAT section on this page.

Can my tenant end their periodic tenancy during the moratorium period?

Your tenant may issue a notice of intention to vacate as normal. They should use the Notice to landlord of rented premises (Word, 1.9MB). For more information, view If the tenant or resident wants to leave.

Can my tenant end their fixed-term tenancy early?

Your tenant may end their fixed-term tenancy by providing a notice of intention to vacate:

  • giving 14 days’ notice, if they need to move for the following reasons:
  • they require special or personal care
  • they are moving into public or community housing
  • they require temporary crisis accommodation 
  • they are a Specialist disability accommodation (SDA) resident and have been given a notice that the SDA provider’s registration, or enrolment of the SDA dwelling, has been revoked
  • they are suffering severe hardship
  • they have been notified that you have applied to VCAT to terminate the tenancy.

Your tenant does not need to apply to VCAT to end the tenancy in these circumstances.

Your tenant can also contact us for a referral to VCAT to reduce the term of their fixed-term tenancy due to severe hardship or family violence. The tenancy agreement will automatically terminate if the tenant vacates the rented premises after the expiration of the reduced term. For more information, view Changing the rental agreement in violent situations.

Are there circumstances when my tenant won’t be charged fees for ending a tenancy early?

If your tenant needs to end the tenancy due to severe hardship (financial hardship or for family violence reasons) they may apply to us for a referral to VCAT. Tenants will not be required to pay any lease break fees or charges if VCAT makes an order to reduce the fixed term tenancy.

The tenant will also not be liable to pay lease break fees or charges if they end the tenancy early by giving 14 days’ notice of intention to vacate in the following circumstances: 

  • they require special or personal care
  • they are moving into public housing or community housing
  • they require temporary crisis accommodation 
  • they are a Specialist disability accommodation (SDA) resident and have been given a notice that the SDA provider’s registration, or enrolment of the SDA dwelling, has been revoked
  • they are suffering severe hardship
  • they have been notified that you have applied to VCAT to terminate the tenancy.

For your tenant to end their fixed-term tenancy without attracting lease break fees, they must:

  1. Give you a written notice of intention to vacate.
  2. Specify a termination date in that notice that is at least 28 days after the date on which they give you the notice.
  3. Ensure the termination date is not earlier than the date on which the fixed term agreement period is due to end. For example, if the tenancy is due to expire on 31 August, they must specify a termination date of 31 August. 

If the notice of intention to vacate specifies a termination date that is earlier than the end of the fixed-term agreement period, the tenant may be required to pay lease break fees for ending the tenancy early.

I want to end the tenancy and have been referred by Consumer Affairs Victoria to VCAT – can my tenant end the tenancy sooner?

If you have lodged an application to VCAT to end the tenancy and the tenant also wants to end it, your tenant may issue a Notice of intention to vacate giving 14 days’ notice. 

They cannot be charged fees for ending the tenancy in these circumstances. 

If VCAT determines that the tenancy will end, how long will my tenant have to leave?

VCAT will consider whether it is reasonable and proportionate to end the tenancy in the circumstances. This means that you should not assume that the tenant will be required to leave. 

If VCAT orders that the tenancy will end, then the minimum amount of time your tenant must be given to leave after the VCAT decision depends on the circumstances:

  • VCAT could order immediate termination if it finds that:
    • the tenant or their visitor have caused serious damage 
    • the tenant is endangering your safety, the safety of your agent, contractors or employees, or the safety of neighbours 
    • the tenant has been given a notice to leave under s368 in relation to serious acts of violence 
    • the rented premises are unfit for human habitation or destroyed 
  • VCAT must give the tenant at least 14 days to leave if it finds that:
    • the tenant has made serious threats or intimidation against you or your agent, contractors or employees
    • the tenant has failed to comply with a VCAT order under s212 of the of the Residential Tenancies Act the tenant has made illegal use of the property 
    • the tenant has assigned or sublet without your consent 
  • VCAT must give the tenant at least 28 days to leave if it finds that:
    • the tenant failed to comply with their obligations under the tenancy agreement or the Residential Tenancies Act, including by not paying rent, in circumstances where they could have done so without suffering severe hardship 
    • the tenant has not complied with a VCAT order excluding a pet from the premises 
  • VCAT must give the tenant at least 60 days to leave if:
    • you are selling the premises
    • you or your family member are moving in 

Further information for landlords

What about my other responsibilities under the lease? 

You still have the same responsibilities to your tenant that currently exist under your lease, including carrying out repairs. An exemption would only apply if you are unable to comply with, or it is not reasonably practicable for you to comply with, a term, provision or obligation because of a ‘coronavirus (COVID-19) reason’. The same exemption applies to tenants who are unable to comply with their responsibilities.

What financial help is there for me?

Contact your insurance and mortgage providers to determine the terms covering your situation.

Your tenants may be eligible for support under the Department of Health and Human Services’ (DHHS) rent relief grant for those facing financial hardship. Tenants may be entitled to up to $2,000 to help cover any shortfall in their rent. This money is paid directly to you. 

If you agree to reduce the rent, you may also be eligible for a 25 per cent land tax reduction. A deferment to 31 March 2021 may also be possible. For more information, visit State Revenue Office – Tax relief for eligible businesses.

Where can I learn more?

To stay updated on changes to renting laws, subscribe to our email list.

You can also ask questions, by lodging an enquiry.

The new laws have changed parts of VCAT’s jurisdiction for residential tenancy matters for the duration of the rental eviction moratorium period.

Terminating a tenancy

If you wish to terminate a tenancy, the Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria must first determine whether the matter falls within one of the defined eligible categories. If so, you will be referred to make an application to VCAT, who will make a decision based on whether it is reasonable and proportionate to end the tenancy in the circumstances.

The specified exceptions are listed below: 

  • serious damage caused by the tenant or their visitor
  • endangering safety of neighbours, the landlord (or their agent), or contractors/employees of the landlord
  • serious threats or intimidation against the landlord, their agent or their contractors/employees
  • failure to comply with a VCAT order under s212 of the Residential Tenancies Act
  • the tenant has been given a notice to leave under s368 in relation to serious acts of violence
  • illegal use of the property
  • tenant failed to comply with obligations under the tenancy agreement or the Residential Tenancies Act, including by not paying rent, in circumstances where the tenant could do so without suffering severe hardship
  • landlord is selling rented premises
  • rented premises are unfit for human habitation or destroyed
  • assignment or sublet without landlord’s consent
  • landlord or their family member is moving back in
  • tenant has not complied with a VCAT order excluding a pet from the premises
  • premises are the property of a statutory authority which requires them for a public purpose after the termination date
  • premises were provided as transitional housing by the Director of Housing and the tenant is unreasonably refusing to accept an offer of alternative accommodation
  • landlord is the Director of Housing and the landlord is intending to repair, renovate, rebuild or demolish the rented premises
  • landlord is a public statutory authority and the tenant has misled them regarding their eligibility for public or social housing
  • tenant has committed drug offences in rented premises or in a common area, where the landlord is the Director of Housing,
  • tenant commits a prescribed indictable offence where the landlord is the Director of Housing
  • landlord is a public statutory authority and tenant no longer meets eligibility criteria

If you wish to end a tenancy on one of the above grounds, please refer to Information for tenants or Information for landlords on this page for more details. You may lodge an application for determination by the Director, Consumer Affairs Victoria here.

Other disputes

Before you can make an application to VCAT in relation to any residential tenancy matters, the Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria must first assess whether the dispute can be resolved through the Residential Tenancies Dispute Resolution Scheme. This includes:

  • a dispute about your rental agreement
  • an alleged breach of your obligations under your rental agreement
  • an alleged breach of the Residential Tenancies Act or the regulations made under it.

You may lodge an application for determination by the Director, Consumer Affairs Victoria here. The Director will either:

  • determine that the matter is suitable for resolution under the Residential Tenancies Dispute Resolution Scheme, and you will be contacted for further information and advice about how to resolve your matter, or
  • refer you to VCAT.

Some not-for-profit agencies may help eligible tenants in financial crisis. For initial advice and referral to a financial counsellor, visit the National Debt Helpline website.

The Tenancy Assistance and Advocacy Program (TAAP) can make a referral where appropriate. It supports tenants who are financially disadvantaged and vulnerable, and have certain specified tenancy issues.

On 18 March 2020, the Victorian Government announced almost $6 million for Victorian homelessness organisations. The funding will help protect Victorians at risk of, or experiencing, homelessness because of coronavirus (COVID-19).

If you need urgent help with housing, contact the Department of Health and Human Services’ housing assistance team. Call 1800 825 955 (free call, 24 hours) or visit the HousingVic website.

See the restrictions that apply to restricted postcodes from midnight 1 July 2020. 

Auctions

You should keep 1.5 metres between yourself and others and practise good hygiene, with regular hand washing and hand sanitising. If you feel unwell, even if you have tested negative for coronavirus (COVID-19), you should stay at home.

Under the Deputy Chief Health Officer's directions, estate agents may organise an auction for sale of a residential property if the following additional conditions are met:

  1. The auction is attended in person by no more than 20 members of the public (excluding the owners or residents of the property and anyone reasonably required to facilitate the auction).
  2. The estate agent does not permit the number of members of the public in a single undivided indoor space to exceed the density quotient.
  3. The estate agent meets the requirements for requesting and keeping records in the Restricted Activity Directions (No 10). For every person who attends for longer than 15 minutes (including the estate agent's staff), the agent must:
    • request their first name and contact phone number
    • if provided by the person, record those details with the date and time they attended
    • keep a record of these details for 28 days
    • take reasonable action to protect any personal information collected from use or disclosure other than as requested by an authorised officer under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 and destroy the information as soon as reasonably practicable after 28 days (unless permitted or required to retain it).

People with coronavirus (COVID-19) can attend remotely. Other interested people may attend remotely.

Inspections for lease and sale

You should keep 1.5 metres between yourself and others and practise good hygiene, with regular hand washing and hand sanitising. If you feel unwell, even if you have tested negative for coronavirus (COVID-19), you should stay at home.

Under the Deputy Chief Health Officer’s directions, an estate agent may organise an inspection of a residential property for the purposes of a prospective sale or rental of the property, if the following additional conditions are met:

  1. The estate agent does not permit more than 20 members of the public to enter the premises at any one time (excluding the owners or residents of the property and anyone reasonably required to facilitate the inspection).
  2. The estate agent does not permit the number of members of the public in a single undivided indoor space to exceed the density quotient.
  3. The estate agent meets the requirements for requesting and keeping records in the Restricted Activity Directions (No 10). For every person who attends for longer than 15 minutes (including the estate agent's staff), the agent must:
    • request their first name and contact phone number
    • if provided by the person, record those details with the date and time they attended
    • keep a record of these details for 28 days.
    • take reasonable action to protect any personal information collected from use or disclosure other than as requested by an authorised officer under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 and destroy the information as soon as reasonably practicable after 28 days (unless permitted or required to retain it).

People with coronavirus (COVID-19) can attend remotely. Other interested people may attend remotely.

The restrictions and requirements in relation to open retail facilities apply to display homes, regardless of whether the property is intended to be used for residential or commercial purposes.

Licensed and registered businesses

Other areas of the economy have also been asked to show more goodwill during this emergency.

See the restrictions that apply to restricted postcodes from midnight 1 July 2020. 

If your club or association is scheduled to hold a meeting, you must follow the restrictions on gatherings in place.

Holding a meeting

Under the Deputy Chief Health Officer's directions, up to 10 people can hold a public gathering such as a meeting in a public place. Up to five people can hold a private gathering, such as a meeting held at an association member’s home. This limit does not include any people who ordinarily reside at the premises.

Where a meeting is held in a facility such as a community or a physical recreation facility, a range of other restrictions and requirements will also apply.

People at gatherings should keep 1.5 metres between themselves and others and practise good hygiene, with regular hand washing and hand sanitising. If you feel unwell, even if you have tested negative for coronavirus (COVID-19), you should stay at home. For more information, see Social gatherings - Department of Health and Human Services.

If you re unable to satisfy these requirements and need to hold a meeting, you can:

  • use a teleconference, videoconference or other means of electronic communication.
    The Associations Incorporation Reform Act 2012 (the Act) permits members to take part in general meetings by using technology that allows members to clearly and simultaneously communicate with each other, regardless of the incorporated association's rules about this. The Act also permits meetings of the committee of an incorporated association to be conducted by use of technology that allows members to clearly and simultaneously communicate with each other.
  • use proxy voting. You must use a standard form to proxy vote if the rules of the incorporated association require you to do so. Members must be given a copy of the form with the notice of the AGM/Special General Meeting. A person acting as a proxy must act honestly and in good faith and exercise due care and diligence
  • apply for an extension of time to hold the AGM. The Registrar is currently granting three-month extensions and waiving the usual fee. To seek an extension, complete our Extension of time to hold an AGM or lodge financial statements form (Word, 97 KB) and send it to cav.registration@justice.vic.gov.au.

Financial statements

If this emergency makes it difficult to engage an independent accountant or auditor to review your financial statements, you may request an extension. Complete our Extension of time to hold an AGM or lodge financial statements form (Word, 97 KB) and send it to cav.registration@justice.vic.gov.au.

See the new restrictions that apply to restricted postcodes from midnight 1 July 2020. 

If your co-operative needs to hold a meeting, you can do so but must continue to follow the restrictions on gatherings.

Under the Deputy Chief Health Officer's directions, up to 10 people can hold a public gathering such as a meeting in a public place.

Up to five people can hold a private gathering, such as a meeting held at a member’s home. This limit does not include any people who ordinarily reside at the premises.

Where a meeting is held in a facility such as a community or a physical recreation facility, a range of other restrictions and requirements will also apply.

Attendees should keep 1.5 metres between themselves and others and practise good hygiene, with regular hand washing and hand sanitising. If you feel unwell, even if you have tested negative for coronavirus, you should stay at home. For more information, see Social gatherings - Department of Health and Human Services.

If you are unable to satisfy these requirements and your co-operative needs to meet in order to comply with its rules and the Co-operatives National Law (Victoria) (CNL), you can:

  • use alternative means to hold meetings including teleconference or video conference. The CNL permits directors to hold board meetings or transact co-operative business outside physical meetings by the use of technology that allows the board to clearly and simultaneously communicate and share documents with each other. Meetings of the board can also be held by circulation of papers without the board members being physically present together. Circulation of papers can occur by use of technology.
  • use proxy voting or postal ballot. The rules of some co-operatives permit the use of proxy voting and/or postal ballot. It is strongly advised that prior to acting under any of these provisions, a co-operative seeks independent legal advice to ensure the board is acting in accordance with its regulatory requirements.
  • apply for an extension of time to hold your AGM. The Registrar will approve an extension of up to three months and waive any usual fee. To apply, complete the Application for extension or shortening of time form (Word, 128 KB) and submit to cav.registration@justice.vic.gov.au.

Having your financial statements reviewed or audited

If you are experiencing difficulties engaging an independent accountant or auditor to review your financial statements, you may also seek an extension.

To seek an extension please complete the Application for extension or shortening of time form (Word, 128 KB) and submit to cav.registration@justice.vic.gov.au.

See the restrictions that apply to restricted postcodes from midnight 1 July 2020. 

Annual general meetings and other meetings

Restrictions still apply on gatherings for annual general meetings (AGMs) or any other meetings.

Under the Deputy Chief Health Officer's directions, up to 10 people can hold a public gathering such as a meeting in a public place. 

Up to five people can hold a private gathering, such as a meeting held at a member’s home. This limit does not include any people who ordinarily reside at the premises.

Depending on where the meeting is held, a range of other restrictions and requirements will also apply.

Attendees should keep 1.5 metres between themselves and others and practise good hygiene, with regular hand washing and hand sanitising. If you feel unwell, even if you have tested negative for coronavirus, you should stay at home. For more information, see Social gatherings - Department of Health and Human Services.

If you are unable to satisfy these requirements and your owners corporation needs to meet, you must hold the meeting by teleconference or other remote technology.

Some matters do not need an AGM and can be resolved by ballot. You can conduct a ballot by:

  • post
  • telephone
  • internet
  • fax
  • other electronic communication.

Owners corporations should also consider what powers and functions they can delegate to the committee and/or manager. This can ensure effective administration between meetings.

Owners corporations should consider limiting the use of their power to decide that certain matters can only be dealt with at a general meeting. This will help provide flexibility for decision-making while physical distancing is needed.

For general information, view Meetings and committees.

Payment of owners corporation manager annual registration fee

A registered owners corporation manager must pay the prescribed annual registration fee to the Business Licensing Authority (BLA) on the anniversary of the date the manager was last registered.

If you are facing financial hardship and cannot pay your annual registration fee, you can apply for a six-month extension prior to the due date by emailing information@bla.vic.gov.au. There is no fee associated with the extension application.

See the restrictions that apply to restricted postcodes from midnight 1 July 2020. 

Holding meetings

Under the Deputy Chief Health Officer's directions, up to 10 people can hold a public gathering such as a meeting in a public place. 

Up to five people can hold a private gathering, such as a meeting held at a resident's home. This limit does not include any people who ordinarily reside at the premises.

Depending on where the meeting is held, a range of other restrictions and requirements may also apply.

Attendees should keep 1.5 metres between themselves and others and practise good hygiene, with regular hand washing and hand sanitising. If you feel unwell, even if you have tested negative for coronavirus, you should stay at home. For more information, see Social gatherings - Department of Health and Human Services.

If you are unable to satisfy these requirements and you cannot postpone a meeting, you can meet remotely via a:

  • teleconference
  • videoconference.

Managers should contact residents as soon as possible to agree on a preferred approach.

See the restrictions that apply to restricted postcodes from midnight 1 July 2020. 

A person who owns, controls or operates a brothel or sex-on-premises venue, must not operate that facility until 11:59pm on 12 July 2020.

The most up-to-date information on restrictions in Victoria is available on the Department of Health and Human Services website.

Products and services

Most Victorian consumers and businesses do the right thing. We urge buyers and sellers to consider the impact of excessive pricing and panic buying. We support measures to ensure supply and demand of products is fair for everyone.

We encourage all businesses to set fair prices during this emergency.

Businesses can legally set their own prices, but must not mislead consumers about the reason for increased pricing. Excessive pricing by a business may be found to be unconscionable if the product is critical to help save or protect vulnerable consumers. This would make the high prices illegal. See our information about Price rip-offs.

Private sales are not covered by Australian Consumer Law. Private sellers can legally list face masks, hand sanitiser and toilet paper on classified sites for significantly more than they sell for in stores.

We urge consumers not to pay exorbitant amounts to people reselling important sanitary products. Retailers are aiming to keep shelves stocked with important products for those who need them.

If an event cannot go ahead due to coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions, this may be a ‘frustrated contract’. This means it is impossible to carry out the contract due to events beyond the control of all parties. In this situation, consumers are entitled to a refund for any services not provided. Organisers may deduct reasonable expenses they have already incurred. Organisers should have clear refund policies and processes, to ensure they meet their obligations.

We recommend buying tickets from ‘authorised sellers’. Tickets sold by unauthorised sellers are not always legitimate. This could make it difficult to get a refund in the event of a cancellation. If purchasing online, use a secure connection.

Insurance may provide further protection for consumers who cannot attend an event due to coronavirus (COVID-19). Check any exclusions carefully, as many policies do not cover ‘known events’.

Many public sporting events cannot go ahead due to coronavirus (COVID-19). A consumer’s first step should be to check any membership or ticket terms and conditions for the seller’s refund policy.

With sports memberships, a range of services may be offered as part of that membership. Each club should clarify which services are being cancelled because they can no longer be provided. This may be a ‘frustrated contract’. In this situation, consumers are entitled to a refund for any services not provided. Clubs may deduct reasonable expenses they have already incurred.

There is a significant increase in malicious activity surrounding coronavirus (COVID-19), including misinformation made to appear to be from trusted sources such as government agencies and media outlets.

Protect yourself against online scammers, by following these quick tips:

  • Do not reveal personal or financial information in emails, and do not respond to email solicitations for this information.
  • Use trusted sources—such as legitimate, government websites—for up-to-date, fact-based information about coronavirus (COVID-19): dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus
  • Verify a charity’s authenticity before making donations: acnc.gov.au/charity

You can report a potential scam via our Report a scam page. Learn more about current coronavirus (COVID-19) scams from the Scamwatch website.

For accurate information about coronavirus (COVID-19), use the: