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Tension is brewing between the property industry and the state government. Image – Canva.
  • Full-page ads were placed in the major newspapers criticising the state government
  • REIV has consistently called for private inspections to be allowed
  • Has criticised other property regulations

On behalf of tens of thousands of real estate sector employees, the Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV) has launched an attack on what it describes as “onerous and unnecessary” restrictions upon the property market.

Full-page advertisements were placed in major metropolitan newspapers with the line “Locked down and locked out. Mr Premier, please give us our keys back,” picturing an image of Premier Dan Andrews.

“Victorians are being denied their basic right to rent, buy and sell a home… The financial and emotional stress of losing deposits, defaulting on contracts and not being able to secure appropriate living arrangements is leaving families in distress and endangering lives,” the advertisement reads.

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Part of the advertisement featured across newspapers. Image Supplied.

Authorised by outgoing REIV Chief Executive Officer Gil King, the campaign is targeting what it says is the failure of the state government to understand the property sector can operate safely during a pandemic.

The body has regularly called for one-on-one property inspections to be allowed during the lockdown, something that is currently occurring in New South Wales.

The Victorian government has indicated by the end of the month inspections of limited nature would be allowed to resume once 70% of the Victorian population has had at least one dose of either vaccine.

“..real estate, private inspections of unoccupied premises for a new purchase or end of a lease will be permitted,” Mr Andrews said.

However, the REIV is adamant private inspections can occur in a safe manner at the present time.

“Ever since the beginning of COVID-19, the REIV, on behalf of the sector, has outlined that private property inspections – residential and commercial – can occur safely,” Mr King said.

“We have made dozens upon dozens of representations to the Victorian Government but are repeatedly ignored.

We are determined to ensure the message gets through, and if taking a more public stance means the voices of Victorians are heard, then we are prepared to invest resources into that approach.”

Gil King, REIV CEO

REIV President Leah Calnan added her concerns especially given the property sector contributes significant amounts of revenue yet is excluded from government financial support, including support for landlords.

“Lockdown regulations that ban property inspection by private appointment are creating an unnecessary burden on the property market, impacting aspiring homeowners and mum and dad investors.

“Most critically, though, they’re stopping many people from being able access rental properties so they can put a roof over their heads.”

Leah Calnan, REIV President

Along with private inspections, the REIV has criticised the Commerical Tenancy Relief Scheme, which it described as a ‘one-sided program’ that would put small and medium-sized property owners into financial distress.

Additionally, the institute was highly critical of last year’s residential eviction moratorium which was put into place by the state government without any consultation with the sector or property owners.

“Suffocating a sector with unnecessary rules is already impacting the health, safety and mental well-being of the community and we shudder at the thought of potential longer-term consequences,” added Mr King.

“The REIV is ready and willing to work with the Victorian Government in finding the solutions that enable business to resume while ensuring the safety of all Victorians.”

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