Meet the Commissioner
Dr Heather Holst is Victoria’s first Commissioner for Residential Tenancies.
Dr Holst was formally appointed to the role on 21 August 2018 and commenced on 10 September 2018.
With almost 30 years of experience working in the housing, tenancy and homelessness sectors, Dr Holst is a strong champion for the rights of Victorian renters and residents of rooming houses, caravan parks and residential parks.
She has worked in Melbourne and regional Victoria in a wide range of roles with community housing organisations, including Tenants Victoria and Launch Housing, and with local councils. In these roles, Dr Holst secured funding for a range of housing projects, support programs and rough sleeping solutions, and appeared before the Royal Commission into Family Violence.
The Commissioner's role
The Commissioner for Residential Tenancies provides independent advice to the Victorian Government to inform the development of residential tenancy policy and legislative frameworks, programs and services.
A key focus of the role is promoting the rights of renters and residents of rooming houses, caravan parks and residential parks, and supporting their participation in the private residential tenancy sector.
This is an important role, as a growing number of Victorians are renting, for different reasons and for different lengths of time.
The private rental sector has always catered for a broad range of renters. However, in the past a greater proportion were newly formed households, younger people and students for whom renting was commonly a relatively short-term transitional arrangement, which ended in a move to home ownership or to social housing.
Over time, an increasing number of families with children and older people on fixed incomes have become long-term renters for whom stability and security - and the opportunity to participate in their community over the longer term - are important to ensuring their health and well-being.
As the rental sector changes, the Commissioner will focus on renter and resident experiences in the private rental sector and be a strong champion for their rights.
The Commissioner for Residential Tenancies is located within the Department of Justice and Community Safety. The Commissioner is not connected to Consumer Affairs Victoria or agencies within the Department of Justice and Community Safety.
What the Commissioner can do
The Commissioner is the voice of renters and residents of rooming houses, caravan parks and residential parks on emerging and systemic issues.
The role considers issues which have a significant impact, are ongoing, and that affect many renters and residents.
The Commissioner will:
- listen to the experiences of renters and residents
- consult widely with renters, residents, advocacy groups and interested stakeholders across the private rental sector
- identify, explore and prioritise systemic and community-wide issues affecting renters and residents
- advise and report to the Victorian Government on current and emerging issues, and
- recommend changes to renting laws and the introduction of or improvements to programs and services to inform and support renters and residents.
What the Commissioner cannot do
The Commissioner for Residential Tenancies cannot provide direct support or legal advice to renters or residents of rooming houses, caravan parks and residential parks.
This is because the Commissioner’s role is not individual advocacy, resolving disputes or dealing with complaints about government services. Other agencies and support services deal with these matters.
The Commissioner can provide information and refer you to these agencies and services.
Contact details for the Commissioner