Victoria Legal Aid

Other support for home and property

Learn where to get legal help and other support for home and property.

Renting, rooming houses and caravan parks

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

How we can help

A duty lawyer may be able to help you on the day of your hearing if you do not have your 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
  • caravan park residents
  • specialist disability accommodation residents.

A duty lawyer can only help you with your case on the day of your hearing, so we may refer you to another legal assistance service for help.

During the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, we are continuing to provide access to advice and sometimes representation from a duty lawyer if you:

  • have an upcoming hearing at the tribunal which might result in your eviction and you have not been able to get help from another service, or
  • need an order from the tribunal to prevent an illegal eviction.

If you have not been able to get assistance from another service, and would like help from a duty lawyer, please call our Legal Help phone line before your hearing date on 1300 792 387.

Other organisations that can help

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 Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (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 providersExternal Link 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 officeExternal Link or contact a Tenancy Plus support providerExternal Link .

Tenants Victoria

Tenants VictoriaExternal Link 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.

Homeless Law

Homeless LawExternal Link provide a range of services for people at risk of homelessness, including legal assistance.

Anika Legal

Anika LegalExternal Link can help with issues around repairs, being behind on rental payments, and eviction proceedings.

Housing for the Aged Action Group

Housing for the Aged Action GroupExternal Link provide independent advice, assistance and practice housing support for over 50s.

International Students Accommodation Legal Service

The International Students Accommodation Legal ServiceExternal Link is a free, confidential and independent legal service to help international students with accommodation issues.

Other help and information services

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

Consumer Affairs VictoriaExternal Link 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 VictoriaExternal Link 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 TribunalExternal Link 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, like 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 tribunal has additional support services, including a Koori support team and a family violence worker.

The Department of Families, Fairness and HousingExternal Link (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 decisionExternal Link . 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 TribunalExternal Link .

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.

Dividing your property

Family dispute resolution can help couples who have separated to sort out disputes more quickly and easily than by going to court. Our Family Dispute Resolution Service may be able to help you.

In some regional areas we also run free divorce workshops to explain the divorce process and help participants to complete their divorce application. These are currently running at our Bendigo office. Contact the offices directly to book your place. For contact details, see Our offices.

Other organisations that can help

amica

amicaExternal Link is a secure online platform that helps separating couples to:

  • make parenting arrangements if you have children
  • divide your money and property fairly
  • create clear, simple written agreements about your arrangements, and
  • create the documents you need if you want to turn your agreements into consent orders.

amica guides you through a user-friendly, step-by-step process, giving you information and support along the way. It is a very low-cost option and is free if either of you is on an Income Support Benefit.

Legal services

Some community legal centres have specialist family law and child support services. Most services are free. See the Community Law websiteExternal Link to find a centre near you.

The Women's Legal ServiceExternal Link Victoria provides free confidential legal information, advice, representation and referral to women.

You can also find a private lawyer near you through the Law Institute of Victoria’s Legal Referral ServiceExternal Link . All law firms included in the Legal Referral Service provide a free 30-minute interview. You can use this interview to understand more about the legal issue and discuss the available options and how much they will cost. Note that the free interview is not 30 minutes of free legal advice.

Family Relationships Online

Go to Family Relationships OnlineExternal Link or contact their advice line on 1800 050 321 to find:

  • a family dispute resolution centre
  • a child contact centre – where children can see their parents or where changeover from one parent to another can occur. Many contact centres also provide support programs for children and parents experiencing family breakdown
  • other services that can help you reach agreement about the children.

Services Australia

Services Australia has information for familiesExternal Link , separated parentsExternal Link and carersExternal Link about their payments and services.

Courts

If you cannot agree with your ex-partner or if your case is not suitable for family dispute resolution, you may need to go to court. The court can make decisions about parenting orders and division of property. They can offer help, information and referral services. Go to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia websiteExternal Link for more information.

Court Network volunteersExternal Link support people at court. They are not lawyers and cannot give legal advice, but they can tell you about how court works. They can also make referrals to other community agencies for support after the hearing.

If you want to see a Court Network volunteer, tell the court staff. You can also ring them before you go to court.

Family violence and support services

Family violence services are available for people who wish to leave, or have left, a violent relationship.

If you are experiencing family violence and the situation is urgent do not wait, contact the police on ‘000’.

For more family violence and support services, see our topic Violence, abuse and personal safety.

Resources for dividing your property

These resources will help you understand more about:

  • separation and divorce
  • property issues
  • keeping safe from family violence.

You can download or order these publications:

See a list of all our free publications and resourcesExternal Link .

Resources from other organisations

WIRE

WIRE's information booklet, Leaving a relationshipExternal Link , has information on your legal rights and options if are leaving a relationship. Includes parenting arrangements, finances, housing, court orders and getting help.

WIRE's information booklet, Separation and propertyExternal Link , has information for couples considering separation. It covers property division and settlement, financial abuse, family dispute resolution and going to court.

Contact us for free information about the law and how we can help you.

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

Our other free legal services include help at court depending on your income, circumstances and the nature of your charges. For some matters we can also provide you with a lawyer to help you run your case.

Justice Connect

Justice Connect's Homeless Law programExternal Link provides free legal information and advice to, and acts on behalf of, people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. This includes people in transitional, emergency or social housing.

The clinic can assist with:

  • housing and tenancy matters
  • fines and infringement notices connected to homelessness
  • guardianship and administration orders
  • credit and debt problems
  • Centrelink matters
  • human rights advocacy.

The clinic cannot assist with family or criminal law matters.

Youthlaw

YouthlawExternal Link provides free and confidential legal information and advice to young people up to the age of 25.

Tenants Victoria

If you are at risk of becoming homeless, contact Tenants VictoriaExternal Link .

Theft and property damage

If you are going to court for a criminal offence, and your court date is more than six days away, you can request help before court.

Other organisations that can help

Legal services

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

You can also find a private lawyer near you through the Law Institute of Victoria’s Legal Referral ServiceExternal Link . All law firms included in the Legal Referral Service provide a free 30-minute interview. You can use this interview to understand more about the legal issue and discuss the available options and how much they will cost. Note that the free interview is not 30 minutes of free legal advice.

Help at court

Court Network volunteersExternal Link support people at court. They are not lawyers and cannot give legal advice, but they can tell you about how court works. You can ring them before you go to court.

Resources about theft and property damage

These resources will help you understand:

  • criminal offences
  • police powers in Victoria
  • what to do if you go to court for criminal charges.

Our resources include:

See a list of all our free publications and resourcesExternal Link .

We also have a video about police.

Resources from other organisations

The Youthlaw website contains information on graffiti lawsExternal Link including carrying spray cans and graffiti searches.

Australian Injecting and Illicit Drug Users LeagueExternal Link website has information on the main laws and penalties related to the use of illegal drugs. It includes a section on Victorian laws and penalties.

The Agriculture Victoria website has information about:

Other ways we can help

Contact us for free information about the law and how we can help with your legal issue.

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

Disclaimer: The material in this print-out relates to the law as it applies in the state of Victoria. It is intended as a general guide only. Readers should not act on the basis of any material in this print-out without getting legal advice about their own particular situations. Victoria Legal Aid disclaims any liability howsoever caused to any person in respect of any action taken in reliance on the contents of the publication.

We help Victorians with their legal problems and represent those who need it most. Find legal answers, chat with us online, or call us. You can speak to us in English or ask for an interpreter. You can also find more legal information at www.legalaid.vic.gov.au

Reviewed 17 January 2023

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