Second Step

11.59pm on 27 September 2020

Second Step commences at 11.59pm on 27 September

What does this mean I can do?

If you live in metropolitan Melbourne then Second Step restrictions apply:

  • You can buy or sell a property; however auctions must be held remotely or outdoors with up to 10 people.
  • Private property and display home inspections must be pre-arranged at a set time and will have limitations on duration and attendees.
  • You can move home however you are encouraged to wait until the current restrictions ease.
  • Emergency repairs and maintenance can occur on a property.
Your questions answered

I have more than one home. Can I choose which one I stay in?

For people with more than one ordinary place of residence, your place of residence as of 11:59pm on Saturday 1 August must remain your principal place of residence for the new stay at home period.

You should not be travelling between your residences, or to a holiday home, except to carry out emergency maintenance or emergency preparedness activities, if you have a Fire Prevention Notice or permission from your local council.

Apartments and multi-dwelling properties

Managers and operators of apartments and multi-dwelling properties in metropolitan Melbourne with shared facilities are being asked to help keep residents safe.

For more information view Multi-dwelling Properties with Shared Facilities Guidelines.

Can I go outside to collect firewood?

Yes. If you need firewood for essential heat, you may collect firewood. You should collect firewood as close to home as possible.

Renting or buying property

Are house auctions restricted?

Yes. Auctions can only be held remotely, or outdoors with up to 10 people plus the minimum number of people required to conduct the auction.

Can I sell my house at auction?

Yes, under the restrictions you can put your home on the market for private sale or auction. Auctions can be held remotely or outdoors with up to 10 people plus the minimum number of people required to conduct the auction.

What do I do if a private property inspection is to occur at my home?

You will be informed in advance by the estate agent and you must confirm that you are not displaying coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, or self-isolating or self-quarantining as a diagnosed person or close contact. You can leave your house for the purpose of another person attending the house for a private property inspection.

Can tenants provide notice to vacate under current restrictions?

Yes. Notice can be provided under current restrictions.

Can I travel to attend house inspections or auctions?

You can attend a pre-arranged private property or display home inspection. Inspections must be pre-arranged, limited to 15 minutes and are subject to other restrictions and requirements.

You are not permitted to travel to regional Victoria if you live in metropolitan Melbourne or vice versa, to attend a residential property or display home inspection. You can travel more than 25km from your home within metropolitan Melbourne to attend a private property inspection.

You are permitted to travel to regional Victoria if you live in metropolitan Melbourne, or vice versa, to receive services related to property settlements or commencement or ending of leases.

Only one agent and one prospective purchaser or tenant can attend an inspection. You can attend an inspection with your intimate partner or other household member. If you have dependants, they can attend the inspection with you. You should maintain physical distancing and face masks must be worn at all times, unless a lawful exception applies.

Can I start a new lease and move into a new house? Can I start a new lease and move into a non-residential property?

Yes. You are still able to move to a new house if you need to. You should also take steps to stay safe including wearing a face mask and maintaining at least 1.5 metres between yourself and others.

You may commence a new lease if you need to for your own safety (such as fleeing violence or to avoid homelessness).
This only applies to residential property. You cannot move into a non-residential property under the current restrictions. 

Can on-site building inspections occur?

Yes. Architecture, surveying, building inspection and engineering services are permitted where required on site for permitted construction.

If I plan on selling my home, can I have a valuation of my property undertaken?

Yes. Property valuation can only be undertaken remotely, valuers are not permitted to attend premises in person.

Can owners attend final inspections and sign contracts?

Final inspections and signing of contracts should be undertaken remotely where possible.

If you must attend the site to complete a final inspection prior to settlement, it must be by private appointment. You can travel to metropolitan Melbourne or regional Victoria for a final inspection if it cannot be undertaken remotely. Physical distancing must be maintained and face masks must be worn.

Moving home

I had arranged to move to a new house – can I still go ahead?

You are still able to move to a new house if necessary. You should also take steps to stay safe including wearing a face mask.

Can friends or family help me move house?

Friends and family can only assist you to move house if they live with you or if care and support is required due to age, health issues or disability. You should take steps to stay safe including wearing a face mask and maintaining at least 1.5 metres between yourself and others.

Can I move house if I live in metropolitan Melbourne and I am moving to regional Victoria?

You are still able to move to a new house if necessary. You can only attend an inspection or auction for a house or property in regional Victoria remotely.

You should take steps to stay safe including wearing a face mask and maintaining at least 1.5 metres between yourself and others.

I’m moving to regional Victoria from metropolitan Melbourne - can people help me move?

Yes, but for care and compassionate reasons only. This means you can assist someone in another household to move house where care and support is required due to age, infirmity, disability, or because of their health. 

This should be restricted to one person (or a few as possible if one is not feasible). You should take steps to stay safe including wearing a face mask and maintaining at least 1.5 metres between yourself and others.

Can I rent a vehicle to help me move house?

Yes. If you need to move house you are permitted to rent a vehicle to assist you with that activity. The car or vehicle rental should only be for the time required to complete your move. Car rental businesses are required to have a COVIDSafe Plan in place, including appropriate cleaning in between uses.

Are removalists able to work under current restrictions?

Yes. A removalist can be used to support vacating a property under current restrictions. Friends and family can only assist someone in another household to move house where care and support is required due to age, health issues or disability. 

If I’m moving house, can I have a cleaner?

Yes, but only if you require a cleaner due to disability, impairment or as a result of your tenancy agreement.

Maintaining your home or property

Can maintenance occur under current restrictions?

Yes. Maintenance and repair activities for inhabited properties can be completed as set out below. People coming into your home must wear a face mask. You should always keep at least 1.5 metres distance between you and the tradesperson. 

From 11:59pm on Sunday 18 October 2020 the following types of work can occur as long as they are outdoors by up to five workers:  

  • outdoor non-essential home maintenance and repairs, including painting
  • outdoor pool and spa maintenance/cleaning for private residences and other outdoor cleaning
  • home solar panel installation (only for outdoor work or in roof cavities with external access)

Work at uninhabited properties must be undertaken in accordance with the construction sector guidance. Workers should abide by their employers’ COVIDSafe plans when performing emergency repair work.

Can a cleaner come into my home?

In-home support is permitted for those people that need assistance with cooking or cleaning because they have particular needs related to age, disability, illness, a chronic health condition or other medical reason.

You must maintain physical distancing by keeping at least 1.5 metres distance between yourself and others. You should wear a face mask while in someone else’s home.

Can I get my car washed?

You can use a car wash service to wash your car, but it must be an external wash only. All transactions with the service must be contactless. 

Can construction work continue on a vacated residence? Can you clarify what constitutes a vacated residence? 

Yes, construction work on a vacated residence is considered ordinary building construction which is permitted work. In order for construction to proceed, the residents must have fully vacated the residence. All ordinary residents of that property must have relocated to another place of residence, with no one staying or living at the residence for it to be considered a vacated residence. 

Can I still get supplies from a hardware store?

Hardware, building and garden supplies retail premises are permitted to remain open for trade purposes. If you are a tradesperson, you should check with your local retailer that they are open and their operating hours.

If you are not a tradesperson, check if the retailer is accepting orders for contactless "click and collect" and delivery. 

Can my renovation proceed?

You should not commence non-urgent and non-essential renovations at this time. Any non-urgent and non-essential renovations should be deferred. 

If renovations are undertaken, tradespeople and builders can only visit your home for renovations if you have fully vacated the property and are not staying there during the current restrictions.

If you have vacated the property, then renovations can proceed in line with restrictions on residential construction.

If you’re still living at the property, from 11:59pm on Sunday 18 October 2020, the following types of work can occur with up to five workers, as long as they are outdoors:  

  • outdoor non-essential home maintenance and repairs, including painting
  • outdoor pool and spa maintenance/cleaning for private residences and other outdoor cleaning
  • home solar panel installations (only for outdoor work or in roof cavities with external access)

Can I still contact my energy retailer or access their service?

Yes, you can still contact energy retailers and access their services. Energy retailers are a permitted workplace. Energy call centre workers must work from home, along with any staff that are able to work from home. Anyone required to work on site as part of a permitted activity must be issued a worker permit.

Can solar installations continue?

Solar panels can be installed on existing residential or commercial properties under current restrictions as part of construction, or non-essential home maintenance and repairs.

Specialist contractors should adhere to the worksite’s COVIDSafe Plan and are included in the daily workforce caps.

Can tradespeople come into my home?

Yes, for emergency or urgent and essential maintenance and repairs only. You must ensure physical distancing by keeping at least 1.5 metres distance between you and the tradesperson at all times, and wear face masks.

Minimise physical contact by paying with a direct bank transfer or contactless payment.

Can I leave home to undertake emergency maintenance of a property other than my place of residence?

Yes, you may leave your home to undertake these duties, however, physical distancing should be maintained by keeping 1.5 metres between you and anyone else on site. You should keep your time at the property to a minimum and wear a face mask.

For more information on preparing for emergencies visit emergencies and coronavirus (COVID-19). 

What is considered an emergency repair for a tradesperson to enter my home?

Emergency repairs or urgent and essential repairs are those which must be undertaken to keep members of the household safe, to prevent members of the household from injury, to prevent property damage or damage to goods, or for urgent repair to an essential service (for example a water connection or internet service).

If you need to have a tradesperson enter your home, maintain your distance, wear a face mask and minimise physical contact by paying with a direct bank transfer or contactless payment.

Can insurance assessors visit my home to make an assessment?

Yes. An insurance assessor can attend in the case of an emergency assessment. If this can be done remotely, it should be.

I am a caregiver for my elderly parents – can I do emergency repairs on their home?

You can do emergency repairs for your elderly parents if they are unable to do them themselves. You do not need a permit to travel in this instance. 

When you are doing essential repairs, you should be mindful of the risks of transmitting coronavirus (COVID-19) to your elderly parents. Older people are especially vulnerable to coronavirus (COVID-19). Keep a distance of at least 1.5 metres between yourself and your parents and wear a face mask. You should not hug or kiss them.

Is landscaping allowed?

Gardening services and landscaping businesses who have an Australian Business Number (ABN) can undertake landscaping and gardening such as mowing, gutter cleaning, tree lopping and general garden maintenance, provided that the work can be conducted entirely outside safely, contact-free, and by one person operating alone at all times. 

Personal landscaping services are also allowed for urgent repairs, for example a fallen tree. 

Professional landscape services for new build construction can only be undertaken in vacated sites and in compliance with the small-scale construction rules. 

Workers should abide by their employers’ COVIDSafe plans when working. 

Can I have someone attend my property to complete routine maintenance such as gutter cleaning?

Maintenance within the home can only occur if it is urgent and essential.

From 11:59pm on Sunday 18 October 2020 the following types of work can occur with up to five workers, as long as they are outdoors: 

  • outdoor non-essential home maintenance and repairs, including painting
  • outdoor pool and spa maintenance/cleaning for private residences and other outdoor cleaning

People coming to your home must wear a face mask. You should always keep at least 1.5 metres distance between you and the tradesperson.

How will these rules be enforced?

Directions will continue to be enforced through spot checks by Victoria Police and use of emergency powers by the Department of Health and Human Services and Authorised Officers to ensure compliance with the Public Health Directions.

Industry bodies, Victoria Police, WorkSafe, and Authorised Officers will work together to inform Victorians about the directions, as well as undertake enforcement and compliance activities as needed.

Community members can raise concerns about compliance with directions through the Police Assistance Line (PAL) on 131 444. Workers can raise concerns via WorkSafe on 03 9641 1555. And employers can talk to their industry regulator or peak body for specific industry related support.

A Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak Joint Intelligence Unit has been established to support comprehensive preparedness and responses to outbreaks and identify and manage outbreak risks. DHHS and WorkSafe will co-ordinate intelligence and information on businesses that are non-compliant.

What are the penalties for non-compliance?

Victoria Police can issue on the spot fines of up to $1,652 for individuals and up to $9,913 for businesses for:

  • Refusing or failing to comply with the emergency directions
  • Refusing or failing to comply with a public health risk direction
  • Refusing or failing to comply with the Public Health Directions to provide information.

Victoria Police can issue on the spot fines of up to $4,957 for people who live in metropolitan Melbourne who are found to be in regional Victoria without a lawful reason. This fine will also be issued if you gather outdoors in groups larger than ten people, you have visitors to your home without a lawful reason, or you visit someone in their home without a lawful reason.

Fines of up to $20,000 for individuals and $100,000 for businesses are possible through the court system. Individuals who do not wear a face mask and do not have a lawful reason can be fined $200.