Get help with housing and tenancy

Read our legal information about COVID-19 coronavirus.

Get help with housing and tenancy

Call us for free information about housing and tenancy and how we can help you with your legal problem.

If we can’t help, we can refer you to other organisations that can.

Note – rental laws are changing

New laws will provide more protections for renters. Some changes, including the ability to keep pets, have already been made. More changes will start 29 March 2021. To learn more about these changes, view the Changes to renting laws section on the Consumer Affairs Victoria website.

Duty lawyer service

A duty lawyer helps people who do not have their own lawyer on the day of their court hearing. They can give free legal advice and may be able to represent people in court. 

A duty lawyer at Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal) may provide advice and assistance (including representation) to people who are:

  • residential tenants
  • rooming house residents, and
  • caravan park residents only.

Our duty lawyers focus on tenancy matters where an order of possession is sought. Representation may be available where:

  • there is a real danger of a person losing their home and 
  • personal circumstances mean that self-representation is hard (such as disability or language difficulties).

We currently run a duty lawyer service at Melbourne VCAT (Level 5, 55 King Street, Melbourne). We do not have a duty lawyer at other VCAT venues. 

Our duty lawyer service operates from 9.30 am to 4 pm Monday to Friday.

Where to make a complaint about housing and tenancy

Tenants Victoria can help you apply and prepare for a hearing to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal’s Residential Tenancies List. They can also assist in making complaints to Consumer Affairs Victoria about landlords, real estate agents, rooming house owners or caravan park owners.

Consumer Affairs Victoria administers laws about all residential tenancies in Victoria, including rooming houses and caravan parks. They give information and advice about disputes between owners and tenants, and about retirement village disputes and complaints.

The Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria has a free telephone service that will work with you to try to resolve your dispute. The centre will talk about your problem with you, discuss options, suggest negotiation strategies and organise mediation, if required. Phone (03) 9603 8370 or 1800 658 528 (country callers).

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal hears disputes between tenants and owners. The list can make orders forcing the owner or tenant to do something, such as to make repairs or pay some money, or to stop doing something, such as causing a nuisance. The list can make orders about bonds or compensation.

If you have been refused public housing, bond assistance or any other type of rental housing assistance provided by Department of Health and Human Services, you can appeal the decision. You can't appeal eviction orders, requests for emergency maintenance or tenancy responsibility charges. These matters are dealt with by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

Other organisations that can help

Legal services

The Tenants Victoria provides free legal advice and assistance for tenants and can help negotiate with owners, real estate agents and government departments. Tenants Victoria does not assist with disputes between tenants.

Your local community legal centre can give you legal information and advice. Most services are free.

Department of Health and Human Services

The Department of Health and Human Services provides public housing, bond assistance and other accommodation support for Victorians most in need.

More information

See Disputes with neighbours for information about disputes between neighbours about things like noise, pets and fences.

See Homelessness for information for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

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