Support for tenants
You can get help if you are having problems with your landlord or real estate agent, like you are being treated unfairly or get a notice to vacate that was issued incorrectly or without the right reasons or notice period.
What to do if you get a notice to vacate
A notice to vacate is a legal notice. If you get one it means that the landlord or real estate agent has begun legal action because you may have breached your tenancy agreement. For example, you could be behind in your rent.
Getting a notice to vacate doesn't always mean that you need to move out immediately.
For information, advice and what to do:
- Consumer Affairs Victoria has information on what to do if your landlord gives notice to vacate
- Tenants Union of Victoria also has advice on notices to vacate.
If you need to find a new place to live, see Finding a place to rent for tips and information.
If you are a low income earner, you may be eligible for support, see support for private renters.
Consumer Affairs Victoria
Consumer Affairs Victoria can answer all your questions about renting – from before you sign the lease until after you move out.
Go to Consumer Affairs Victoria's renting section for a wide range of useful information on renting and tools like complaints forms.
The section includes:
- A guide to renting a home (.pdf)
It has everything you need to know about renting from before you sign a lease until after you leave. It includes information on being evicted, notices to vacate and solving tenancy problems.
- RentRight, a smart phone app for iPhone and Android devices
The app has information about your rights and responsibilities, condition reports and getting your bond back. It also has rent calculators and templates you can use for things like requesting repairs and ending leases.
- Support for vulnerable or disadvantaged tenants
For assistance with private rental matters like eviction or rent arrears, call 1300 558 181.
The Tenants Victoria gives free advice to people that rent residential accommodation in Victoria.
They also offer a tenants help line and a drop in advice service.
For more info on their services or advice about renting, visit the Tenants Victoria website.
Housing for the Aged Action Group
Housing for the Aged Action Group (HAAG) gives free and confidential advice to older people who live in rental accommodation.
HAAG offers older people:
- Information on housing options when they need to find better, more affordable and secure accommodation
- Advice and support if they are having difficulty paying rent, having problems with tenancy agreements or their housing is in poor condition.
For help or more information, call 1300 765 178 or visit the Housing for the Aged Action Group website.
Legal and dispute advice
The Victorian Law Foundation's Everyday-Law website offers free legal information to help Victorians understand the law. Everyday-Law has a section on housing and neighbours that covers many topics including renting, animal laws and neighbour disputes.
The website also has a directory to help you find free or low cost legal help.
Victoria Legal Aid
Victoria Legal Aid provides free legal advice and services. Some services are available to everyone, while other services are only for eligible people.
For help or more information:
- Ph: 1300 792 387. Hours: Monday to Friday, 8.45 am to 5.15 pm.
- See Victoria Legal Aid's website.
Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal
The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) decides disputes between landlords and tenants.
If you and your landlord have been unable to agree on issues like an excessive rent increase, urgent repairs or getting your bond back, you can apply to have VCAT hear the matter.
You can find out more on VCAT's residential tenancies disputes page.
To find out your rights and responsibilities:
Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria
The centre provides a free service that helps people sort out their problems. It deals with many issues, including problems about fencing, trees, animals, noise, children and other neighbourhood disputes.
The disputing parties meet with two independent mediators. They discuss the issues, think about solutions and decide on an outcome that everyone agrees with.
For help or more information:
- Ph: 1800 658 528 (free call)
- Ph: (03) 9603 8370
- Visit the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria's website.
Family relationship support
Family Relationships Online has information to help with family issues – from building better relationships to dispute resolution. You can find services that may be able to help you.
There is also a list of family relationship centres where you can get advice and information – use your postcode to find one near you.
You can also call the Family Relationship Advice Line:
- Ph: 1800 050 321 (free call)
Hours: Monday to Friday, 8 am to 8 pm. Saturday, 10 am to 4 pm
Closed on Australian public holidays.