Victoria Acts - COVID 19 Laws

Victoria Acts - COVID 19 Laws
29-04-2020 |


Last week, Victoria enacted 296 pages of COVID-19 inspired law

In broad terms, the law covers three areas:

  • Commercial Leases
  • Domestic Leases, and
  • A gaggle of topics which might best be described as applying to the administration of justice, prisons, and the courts.

The new law has a 6 month sunset provision

Commercial Leases

The new law authorises the making of regulations relating to leases where the tenant conducts a business or is a not for profit organisation and:

  • has a turnover of less than $50 million per annum, and
  • is making or has made and is eligible for assistance under the job keeper scheme

Yesterday's laws only define those to whom the the new laws apply, affected landlords and tenants will need to wait for the regulations to understand the full effect.

Domestic Leases

The new law makes wholesale changes to the law relating to domestic leases.

For instance, any notice to quit issued prior to 29 March 2020 to take effect after that date is invalid.  Any notice to quit issued after that date is invalid.

This does not mean that a landlord cannot remove a defaulting tenant.  However, the new law is designed to push landlords and tenants to a tribunal  (including, but not limited to, VCAT) to resolve disputes.  Presumably, the tribunal can order a tenant to vacate the property. 

The Gaggle

The new law makes many changes to a wide variety of laws related broadly to the administration of justice.

Many of these are of a practical nature.  For instance, where the law might require a personal appearance before a court, a magistrate or a tribunal, that appearance can be by video link.  Similarly, a legal representative might now be able to appear without his client, where previously the law required a personal appearance of the client with the legal representative.

Prisoners entering the gaol system may now be held for two weeks in isolation.

The rules of evidence have now been changed to make things a bit more practical having regard to the effects caused by COVID-19.

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Call us on 0419 398 768 should you wish to discuss any of these matters