Frequently Asked Questions

Dear Landlord

Can I get a lawyer to help me?
There are a number of free legal services which offer a range of support to renters. If you are at risk of being evicted, you should talk to a lawyer as soon as you can.
  • Justice Connect can provide representation at VCAT if you are at risk of being evicted into homelessness.
  • Tenants Victoria has online fact sheets, can provide legal advice over the phone, and may be able to represent you at the VCAT hearing, depending on how busy they are, your case and your location.
  • Victoria Legal Aid can provide legal advice over the phone, and have a duty lawyer service at some VCAT locations.
  • Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service can provide legal advice and maybe be able to represent you at VCAT if you identify as a Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person.
  • Your local community legal service might be able to provide legal advice or representation as well.
  • You can also pay for a private lawyer – the Law Institute of Victoria can help you find one.
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What can Dear Landlord help with?

If you are behind in your rent, or are about to fall behind in your rent, Dear Landlord can help you understand your options based on your circumstances, and take steps to avoid eviction, including drafting a payment plan request to your rental provider, drafting a VCAT review application, and finding further financial or legal help.

If your legal problem is not related to being behind in rent but you are at risk of eviction or experiencing other problems with your rental, use Justice Connect’s Get Help tool to explore other support available.

What happens if my rental provider doesn’t accept my payment plan?

Once received, your rental provider or real estate agency will let you know if they are willing to accept the payment plan proposal. Don’t be afraid to enquire if you haven’t heard back within 3-5 business day.

Your rental provider might not accept your payment plan or might only accept full payment upfront. You don’t have to pay the full amount upfront if you can’t afford it. If this is the case, your rental provider might apply to have a decision made by VCAT. You should show VCAT the letter you sent as proof of your payment plan offer. VCAT will often look favourably on renters who try to negotiate a payment plan with rental providers early on. You can read more about what to expect at VCAT in Dear Landlord.

Where can I get financial help to pay my rent and arrears?

If you are struggling with your finances there are services that can help you.

Financial counsellors are qualified professionals who provide free information, advice and advocacy if you are in financial difficulty or struggling with debts. Depending on your circumstances, financial counsellors can help you have debts reduced, access concession rates on bills and utilities, and apply for no interest loans.

Find a financial counsellor.

You can also apply for financial assistance to help pay your rent or rent arrears if you’ve fallen behind. Financial assistance – also known as brokerage – is funded by the Victorian Government, some specifically for people in private rental. This is distributed through your local housing organisation. Call Opening Doors on 1800 825 955 or find your closest housing organisation.

This type of financial assistance is not generally available for renters in public or community housing. Please check with your closest housing organisation regarding your eligibility for financial assistance.

Who can use Dear Landlord?
Dear Landlord can help you if:
  • You are renting a residential property in Victoria, Australia.
  • You rent from a private rental provider, not a public or community housing provider. You may rent directly from the rental provider or through a real estate agency.
  • You are behind in rent or might fall behind in rent.
  • You are an Australian citizen, permanent resident, temporary or any other type of visa holder.

If you are being evicted from public or community housing fill out our online form, or call Justice Connect on 1800 606 313 for legal help.

Dear Landlord is not for commercial or retail leases, contact the Victorian Small Business Commission for help.

Who made Dear Landlord?
You can read about Justice Connect on the About Us page.