Rules for restricted areas – metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire

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A State of Emergency and State of Disaster have 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 2 August. For the latest information about the Stay at Home and Restricted Activities directions, visit the Department of Health and Human Services website.

From 11.59pm on 8 July 2020, Stage 3 Stay at Home restrictions apply to metropolitan Melbourne Metropolitan and Mitchell Shire (the restricted areas). These restrictions have been introduced, in line with advice from the Chief Health Officer, to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and save lives.

See Rules for areas outside metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire or Renting rules and support during the moratorium

Property

An estate agent must not organise:

  • any residential auction, unless it will be conducted remotely
  • any residential inspections, other than by private appointment.

When organising a private appointment across metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, the Stay at Home restrictions apply, meaning that only the minimum number of people needed should attend.

From 11:59pm on Wednesday 22 July 2020, all people 12 years and older attending a private appointment, including the estate agent, must wear a face covering, if in metropolitan Melbourne or Mitchell Shire, unless they have a lawful reason for not doing so.

If you’re outside these areas and are not able to keep 1.5 metres away from other people, a face covering is also recommended.

Wearing a face covering means wearing either a face mask or face shield. A face covering needs to be worn covering both your nose and mouth.

  • A face mask is recommended, and includes any paper or textile covering designed or made to be worn over the nose and mouth to protect the wearer. It does not have to be medical grade and you can make your own. There are instructions on how to make a mask on the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) website.
  • If a face mask is not available other forms of face covering may be used, such as a scarf or bandana.
  • A face shield means any film made from plastic or other transparent material designed or made to be worn like a visor, covering from the wearer’s forehead to below the chin area and wrapping around the sides of the wearer’s face, to provide the wearer protection.

For more information, visit the DHHS website.

Inspecting vacant properties

Private inspections of a vacant residential property in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire can be conducted provided that:

  • only one potential purchaser or tenant enters the premises, or
  • if there is more than one potential purchaser or tenant in attendance, they currently live in the same property.

Anyone attending a property should maintain physical distancing, by keeping 1.5 metres away from others, and must wear a face covering, if in metropolitan Melbourne or Mitchell Shire, unless they have a lawful reason for not doing so.

If you are outside these areas and are not able to keep 1.5 metres away from other people, a face covering is also recommended.

Inspections of occupied properties

Private inspections of an occupied residential property are permitted, but only the agent and one other person can attend.

The estate agent, a prospective tenant/purchaser and a resident cannot be at the property at the same time. In this case, an inspection can be arranged if the resident leaves for a reason permitted under the Stage 3 Stay at Home restrictions.

If the resident is in quarantine or self-isolation in the property, no inspections of the occupied property can take place.

Anyone attending a property should maintain physical distancing, by keeping 1.5 metres away from others, and must wear a face covering, if in metropolitan Melbourne or Mitchell Shire, unless they have a lawful reason for not doing so. If you’re outside these areas and are not able to keep 1.5 metres away from other people, a face covering is also recommended.

It is important to practice good hygiene, with regular hand washing and hand sanitising. If you feel unwell, even if symptoms are mild, you must stay at home.

Inspections of tenanted properties

Inspections by vendors or landlords

A vendor or a landlord wanting to enter a property to inspect it is permitted to do so if they have served a valid notice to enter the premises under the Residential Tenancies Act 1997.

Inspections by estate agents

An estate agent can enter a residential property to inspect a property on behalf of a landlord or vendor.

An estate agent attending a property should maintain physical distancing, by keeping 1.5 metres away from others, and they must wear a face covering, if in metropolitan Melbourne or Mitchell Shire, unless they have a lawful reason for not doing so.

If you’re outside these areas and are not able to keep 1.5 metres away from other people, a face covering is also recommended.

Restrictions on private gatherings do not apply to an estate agent entering an indoor space when conducting an inspection on behalf of a landlord or vendor - whether it is metropolitan Melbourne, Mitchell Shire or outside these areas.

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.

Licensed and registered businesses

This section sets out rights and responsibilities for people and businesses in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire who have been impacted by Stay at Home restrictions. Due to the changing nature of circumstances in Victoria, we will update this information as often as possible.

For information about areas outside metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, from 11.59pm on 8 July 2020, go to Rules for areas outside metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire.

If your association is scheduled to hold a meeting in a Stay at Home restricted area, you must follow the restrictions on social gatherings. For more information, visit the Department of Health and Human Services website.

Holding a meeting

If you 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.

Stay at home restrictions currently apply to metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire.

If your co-operative is scheduled to hold a meeting (subject to its rules), you should choose an alternative approach. You must adhere to the requirements of the rules of the co-operative and the Co-operatives National Law (Victoria) (the CNL) if you:

  • 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.

Annual general meetings

Stay at Home restrictions currently apply to metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire and these impact on annual general meetings (AGMs) and other meetings.

Under the restrictions you must Stay at Home and are only allowed to leave home for four permitted reasons, with strict rules on gathering limits. Attending an Annual General Meeting is not a permitted reason to leave home, nor are you allowed to gather in public places with more than one person, other than members of your household or have visitors to your home unless it is to deliver care or essential services.

Holding a meeting

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.

Shared facilities in apartments and multi-dwelling properties

Information for residents and managers of apartments and multi-dwelling properties with shared facilities is available at Apartments and multi-dwelling properties – coronavirus (COVID-19) on the Department of Health and Human Services website.

Stay at Home restrictions currently apply to metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire and these impact annual general meetings (AGM) and other general meetings. 

Under the restrictions you must Stay at Home and are only allowed to leave home for four permitted reasons, with strict rules on gathering limits. Attending an AGM is not a permitted reason to leave home. Nor are you allowed to gather in public places with more than one person, other than members of your household or have visitors to your home unless it is to deliver care or essential services.

Holding meetings

If 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.

A person who owns, controls or operates a brothel or sex-on-premises venue, or sexually explicit entertainment venue in a Stay at Home restricted area must not operate that facility from 11.59pm on 8 July 2020.

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: