Housing Issues

Housing Issues

Homeless or at risk of homelessness

If someone is experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness, free call 1800 825 955 at any time to speak with a housing and support worker. Opening Doors is a 24-hour statewide toll-free number and will direct your call to a service closest to you, or if the call is outside business hours, it will be directed to Salvation Army Crisis Services.

Renting and Tenancy Issues 

New rental laws are now in effect in Victoria. There are many changes that make it safer and fairer for both tenants (now referred to as renters) and landlords (now referred to as rental providers). For a snapshot of these and information and where to access support see CISVic Factsheet New Rental Laws. Or for detailed information visit https://tenantsvic.org.au/ or https://www.consumer.vic.gov.au/housing/renting

I can't pay my rent, what do I do

  1. Contact your agent or rental provider as soon as possible and explain your situation. Offer a payment plan - don't offer more than you can afford - put it in writing and keep a copy (you can use this as evidence, if needed). If you need help to do this go to Justice Connect’s Dear Landlord website – it is a free, self-guided tool that can help you stay in your home. Whether it’s helping you write a letter to your rental provider or giving you legal information and helpful tips, Dear Landlord can point you in the right direction. 

If you need help working out a realistic payment plan you can talk to a financial counsellor by calling the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 or contact one of our local services for assistance and advice, click here to find your local centre

  1. You can be given a Notice to Vacate for rent that is 14 days overdue. If you receive an eviction notice you do not have to move out, there are options that can help:

  • If you pay the overdue rent owed within the 14-day notice period, the notice to vacate has no effect. You can do this 4 times within a 12-month period without effect.

  • Contact your agent or rental provider explain your situation and offer a payment plan.

  • You may be able to seek out financial support for the arrears, call Opening Doors on 1800 825 955 for help.

  • If your payment plan is rejected or you are unable to make any payments, you will be given a Notice of Hearing from VCAT - it’s very important that you attend the hearing to explain your situation. For help to prepare for your hearing contact either Tenants Victoria or TAAP in your area.

Tenants Victoria’s Renter Advice Line - (03) 9416 2577 
Monday to Friday 10.00 am – 2.00 pm (approximate waiting time is over 30 minutes)
Calls are answered by lawyers, advocates and intake workers with specialist knowledge of Victorian rental laws.

Tenancy Assistance and Advocacy Program (TAAP)
Available to residential tenants who are financially disadvantaged or experiencing family violence. TAAP services provide information and referrals, negotiation with Agents or Rental Providers and assistance in preparing for and attending hearings at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).

Bayside Peninsula/Southern Melbourne - Peninsula Community Legal Centre: 9783 3600
Brimbank Melton - Uniting Lentara: 9351 3600
Hume Moreland - Uniting Lentara: 9351 360
Inner Eastern Melbourne - Uniting Harrison: 9051 3000
North Eastern Melbourne - Uniting Kildonan: 1800 002 992
Outer Eastern Melbourne - Uniting Wesley:  8870 4020
Western Melbourne - WEstjustice: 9749 7720
Goulburn - Beyond Housing: 5833 1000
Inner Gippsland - Quantum Support Services: 5120 2000

  • VCAT must consider a range of factors when making a decision of possession including hardship.

  1. If you have been given a Notice to Vacate for 2 weeks rent arrears (rent owing) you can seek out financial support; call Opening Doors on 1800 825 955, to find the local agency doing this near you.

Public Housing Tenancy Support
If you live in public housing and would like some support contact the Social Housing Advocacy and Support Program (Tenancy Plus), Click here for a list of services. Tenancy Plus provides tenants with tailored support to help maintain your tenancy in situations where there is a breakdown or a risk of break down to your housing. 

Alternatively, contact one of our local services for assistance and advice, click here to find your local centre.