Get help with housing and tenancy

Read our legal information about COVID-19 coronavirus.

Get help with housing and tenancy

Contact 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 have recently changed

New laws provide more protections for renters. These changes started on 29 March 2021. Learn more about the changes and new rental laws on the Tenants Victoria website.

Duty lawyer service

A duty lawyer helps people who do not have their own lawyer. They can give free legal advice and may be able to represent people in hearings. 

Our duty lawyers may provide tenancy advice and assistance (including representation) to people who are:

  • residential renters
  • rooming house residents or
  • caravan park residents.

In some circumstances we may refer you to another legal assistance service for help.

During the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Victoria Legal Aid is continuing to provide access to advice and sometimes representation from a duty lawyer if you meet the following criteria:

  • you have an upcoming hearing at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (the tribunal) which might result in your eviction
  • or you require an order from the tribunal to prevent an illegal eviction.

If you would like help from a duty lawyer, please call our Legal Help phone line before your hearing date on 1300 792 387.

Tenancy Assistance and Advocacy Program (for private renters)

There are some community agencies that can assist renters, who are faced with possible homelessness, deal with issues in a private rental agreement. These agencies can provide a range of services, including information and referral to other services, negotiation with residential rental providers or real estate agents, and assistance in preparing for and attending hearings at the tribunal.

These services, provided through the Tenancy Assistance and Advocacy Program (TAAP), are available to Victorian renters who are financially disadvantaged or experiencing family violence.

For a list of community agencies that provide TAAP services in your area, view the Tenancy Assistance and Advocacy Program providers page on the Consumer Affairs Victoria website.

Tenancy Plus support program (for public and community housing renters)

Tenancy Plus aims to prevent homelessness and support public and community housing renters to stay in housing.

Tenancy Plus used to be known as the Social Housing Advocacy Support Program (SHASP).

Tenancy Plus support providers work with renters to help identify, address and resolve any issues that may be placing the tenancy at risk. They can also connect you to a range of other support services in your local area and assist with hearings at the tribunal.

To find out more, contact your local housing office or contact a Tenancy Plus support provider.

Other legal services

Tenants Victoria provides free legal advice and assistance for renters and can help negotiate with residential rental providers, real estate agents and government departments. 

Tenants Victoria can help you apply and prepare for a hearing in the Residential Tenancies List at the tribunal. They can also assist in making complaints to Consumer Affairs Victoria about residential rental providers, real estate agents, rooming house operators or caravan park operators. Tenants Victoria does not assist with disputes between renters.

Other help and information services

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

Consumer Affairs Victoria manages laws about rental agreements in Victoria, including rooming houses and caravan parks. They give information and advice about disputes between rental providers and renters, 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 renters and rental providers in the Residential Tenancies List. The list can make orders forcing the rental provider or renter 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 also make orders about bonds or compensation.

The Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (previously known as the Department of Health and Human Services) provides public housing, bond assistance and other accommodation support for Victorians most in need. If you have been refused public housing, bond assistance or any other type of rental housing assistance provided by Department of Families, Fairness and Housing, you can appeal the decision. You can't appeal eviction orders, requests for emergency maintenance or decisions about recovery of rental arrears. These matters are dealt with by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

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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