Renters to get help from pop-up advice centres

28 March 2018

Brimbank Melton Community Legal Centre, in partnership with Tenants Victoria, are conducting pop-up tenancy clinics to local renters in Brimbank and Melton throughout April and May to provide advice to local renters. The clinics will be open in St Albans, Melton and Sunshine.

“We are excited to be offering this service to people in the west who are struggling with tenancy issues that affect their quality of life” said Marlene Dixon, Program Director at BMCLC, “Whether it is issues around leases, paying rent, leaving a property, repairs or bonds BMCLC will clarify a renters rights and responsivities and help them get a fair outcome.”

“It’s alarming how many people we see struggling with issues around housing. Housing insecurity links with many other social issues, including poor health, financial stress, lack of/loss of secure employment and family violence. This partnership will go a long way towards addressing those concerns.”

“It’s often not a fair fight when there is a dispute with landlords and real estate agents. We aim to even up the contest.”

The first clinic successfully took place on 19 March 2018.  “And already we are seeing results. Ms Dixon Said. “We helped a sole parent who was living in a house with no hot water and a termite infestation. The place wasn’t habitable. We were able to help her end the lease and get her bond and first month’s rent returned.” (See case study below)

If you need legal advice on a rental matter the upcoming clinics are in:

  • Monday 9 April – St Albans
  • Monday 16 April – Melton
  • Wednesday 2 May – Sunshine

To make an appointment, please contact BMCLC on (03) 8312 2020 or 1800 266 675. For more information go to the website: www.comm-unityplus.org.au

For comment: Marlene Dixon (03 8312 2020)

“These clinics form part of the Federation of Community Legal Centres’ Specialist-Generalist CLC Project, funded and supported by Victoria Legal Aid’s Community Legal Centre Innovation and Transformation Fund.”

Case Study

Our client, a single parent, signed a fixed term lease for a property but the property was uninhabitable as there was no hot water supply and there was evidence of a termite infestation. The issues raised were not dealt with by the real estate agent and the tenant informed the real estate agent that they wished to ‘break the lease’. The bond and first month’s rent had been paid in advance. The landlord applied to the Victorian Civil Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to retain all of the bond. However, VCAT ordered that the bond be returned to the Tenants. 

The Tenants then sought advice from TV on the return of the first month’s rent. BMCLC was able to assist the tenant in filing an application for the return of the money with VCAT. A hearing date was set for the application but prior to the hearing the landlord agreed to return the bond and first month’s rent to the tenant.

What the Client Said:

“I am a very tough person but my child suffers severe depression and other health issues. My child could not bear the stress.

If we had not received the "Heaven-sent" help from Brimbank Melton Community Centre and the Tenants Union of Victoria, my child and I would have been homeless. We most probably would have been evicted as we had no extra money to pay for other accommodation”.

If you have any questions, please contact Simon Roberts on 03 7379 0106.