5 housing rights women need to know about
9 Jul 2018
At Justice Connect, we see lots of women who are at risk of homelessness. That’s why we’re sharing some of the housing rights we believe every women should know about. Whether you’re in public housing or a private rental, you should always know your rights. Of course, this isn’t legal advice—if you find yourself at risk of eviction, get advice from a lawyer ASAP! If you’re experiencing or at risk of homelessness, our Homeless Law team might be able to lend a hand.
1. You can apply for a payment plan
If you can’t afford to pay your rent, or have fallen behind on payments, look into payment plans. Having overdue rent doesn’t automatically give your landlord the right to evict you. You still have a right to a VCAT hearing. Always seek legal advice to better understand your rights and options.
2. You can apply to get the lease in your name
If your violent partner is excluded from your rental property (by a final IVO), you can apply to put the lease in your name. VCAT has some great information on renting and intervention orders. Lodging an application with VCAT is free, but you may want to speak to a lawyer first. Seeking an end to violence should not lead to homelessness!
3. You can apply to end your tenancy
If you can’t stay in your rental property due to family violence, there are options to end your lease early. It’s best to get legal advice, as you’ll need to apply to the Tribunal to end your tenancy.
4. Public housing landlords must consider your human rights
If you live in public or community housing, your landlord has a responsibility to consider your human rights before making decisions about your tenancy—including eviction. Human rights and housing rights overlap, as safe and secure housing is a human right. That means that public housing landlords should never evict you into an unsafe situation. If an eviction puts you at risk of homelessness, contact Justice Connect.
5. You have a right to be heard in front of VCAT
Remember! A “notice to vacate” doesn’t automatically mean you are evicted. You still have the opportunity to seek legal advice, get to know your rights and options, and be heard in front of VCAT. Many evictions are avoidable, so it’s best to get legal help early to know where you stand.
These suggestions should never take the place of real legal advice. Always speak to a lawyer to get advice for your unique situation. If you’re experiencing or at risk of homelessness, apply for help from Justice Connect.