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We provide free, ongoing legal support to renters in Victoria to help them maintain safe and sustainable housing.
When COVID-19 forced Eric to leave his job, he fell behind on rent and was handed an eviction notice.
It was extremely stressful… I knew it would be next to impossible to get somewhere else because the demand is out of this planet.
The Anika team stepped in, carefully guiding him through his rights under the Residential Tenancies Act and preparing him for his upcoming VCAT hearing.
By the date of hearing, Eric secured full-time employment, accessed a financial hardship payment and paid his overdue rent. He was able to articulate his rights effectively, and the VCAT member determined he could stay in his home.
Dan [Anika Seconded Lawyer] helped me with some terminology and lingo to put pressure back on them, to stop them for long enough so I could figure things out… and he helped me save the house.
Eric’s experience with Anika has completely changed his relationship with his agent. He has a much better understanding of his rights, and his agent has started to proactively maintain the house and organise repairs quickly.
Partnering with Launch Housing and supported by ANZ Community Foundation, we piloted our Housing Health Check, our first service that proactively supports and educates renters to avoid legal risks that could destabilise their housing in the future.
Launch Housing caseworkers referred people transitioning out of homelessness, then we offered one-on-one legal support and a phone accessible app where they could submit questions and read information about renting.
The pilot commenced in May and we have supported a small number of renters to start tenancies on the right foot.
With the support of the City of Melbourne and MinterEllison, we engaged renters from a range of cultural and language backgrounds to design the Rental Information Hub, a suite of rental rights resources available in 10 languages.
We laid the groundwork for our advocacy strategy, forming an inaugural advocacy committee who consulted with stakeholders across the community legal and housing sectors to develop our advocacy position and theory of change.
We also made two submissions to federal and Victorian parliaments covering the barriers renters face in maintaining safe, secure, affordable housing, and our recommendations for systemic reform. Our team also featured in several news stories discussing renters’ rights including in The Age, ABC News and VICE.
We enhanced our impact with a range of tech improvements. We continued to iterate Clerk, our bespoke case and learning management system which enables our lawyers to run cases and teach law students. We developed a notification system to guide our student interns as cases progress and made significant improvements to email functionality.
We also redesigned our online intake form to provide an even smoother experience for eligible helpseekers, and direct ineligible helpseekers to more appropriate pathways
Read our full Annual Report here.
This article was last updated 10 October 2023.