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Legal win for international students facing eviction due to pandemic

Source: Wikimedia

International students facing eviction have had legal wins in Melbourne after proving their financial difficulties were a result of COVID-19. They say many people on temporary visas don't know their rights and without the help of a newly formed union - they would be homeless.

A moratorium on evictions has been extended to the end of March 2021 in Victoria. Exceptions are allowed if the landlord is selling the property or their family members need to move in.

Landlords can access mortgage deferrals and rent relief and land tax relief are available for those who give rent reductions of 50 per cent or more to tenants. For Martina Pitotti and Eros Lepori, from Rome in Italy, they've had to start looking for a new home after their landlord decided to sell up.

But there are warnings of a wave of evictions and rental stress when the moratorium lifts, which coincides with mortgage deferrals being due and JobSeeker and JobKeeper payments being completely cut, creating a perfect storm of hardship.

Notices to vacate are still being issued even though they're currently void, with the date set a day after the moratorium lifts. The Union is calling for longer-term solutions to the crisis. Ms Pittoti's advice to those concerned is: reach out for help.

"Don't lose hope, to try to talk to other people even if they feel ashamed".

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