Rent increases would be capped at 2.5 per cent each year in line with inflation under a new policy from the Victorian Greens.
In a pitch to inner-city voters ahead of next month’s state election, the minor party has also promised to push for stronger regulation of the short-stay sector and called on the government to chase developers to cover the costs involved in replacing dangerous flammable cladding on apartment towers.
Greens MP Ellen Sandell will on Wednesday announce the party’s latest planning and housing affordability policies, many of which are aimed at renters and apartment dwellers.
The Greens hope to pick up five metropolitan seats in the lower house (up from three currently) and boost their presence in the upper house at the November 24 election.
“These are the kinds of policies we will be pushing if we’re in the balance of power,” Ms Sandell declared.
The member for Melbourne pledged to introduce legislation to cap annual residential rent increases at 2.5 per cent in a bid to stop long-term renters being priced out of their home.
“We’ve seen studies that show that 83 per cent of renters don’t know where they will be living in 12 months so the rental market is incredibly insecure,” Ms Sandell said.
Landlords would be able to apply for further rent increases in cases where it was warranted, such as after a major renovation.
The Andrews Labor government recently passed legislation that limited rent increases to once per year. It was part of a suite of reformsto the Residential Tenancies Act that strengthened protections for renters and was supported by the Greens.
The Greens will also call for stronger regulation in the short-stay rental sector, advocating for a similar model to that operating in NSW whereby empty properties in Sydney can be leased for a maximum of 180 days per year.
“We have a lot of apartment buildings that are now 50 per cent short stays,” Ms Sandell said, likening them to quasi-unregulated hotels.
Under the Greens policy, the maximum days permissible in Victoria would be set in consultation with communities living in apartment buildings. Body corporate industry groups have long called for provisions that give owners corporations greater rights to set rules around short stays, but such moves have not garnered substantial support in the Victorian parliament.
The Greens’ election platform also includes a plan to establish a cladding fund, which would see the government cover the initial costs involved with replacing flammable cladding in apartment buildings, before pursuing developers to recoup the costs.
Currently, apartment owners can seek a loan to cover the rectification work, paid off via their council rates. Ms Sandell said the onus should not be on apartment owners, who bought in good faith, to take builders and developers to court seeking compensation.
Other Greens policies include:
Adding a third kerbside collection bin for household food and green waste;
Requiring all new apartment buildings higher than two
storeysto include solar power;
Reducing majority vote to 50
per centfor owners corporations seeking to install solar power; and,
Mandating minimum apartment sizes and distances between apartment buildings