Meet Hieu: How Anika's COVID-19 Rent Reduction Service is helping Victorian renters

Lucy Wolstenholme

Like so many other Australians, the escalation of COVID-19 meant Hieu's life was turned upside down.

Stood down by both employers, Hieu was having to dig into his savings constantly, causing a huge mental and financial strain. Seeking support from his real estate agent over his rent, Hieu quickly realised that he may not get the reduction he was after.

‘I wasn’t really feeling like they were very up to the rent reduction because they were telling me that I would [have to] repay the full amount, and that was not really what I wanted.’

While back and forth negotiations with his agent meant he could secure a 30% rent reduction that he would have to repay at a later date, Hieu wondered if they could do more. That's when he contacted Anika.

'[I had heard] how Anika can help with legal deferments, rent reduction and things like that, so I contacted them by the link.' 

After getting in touch with us online, Hieu was quickly paired up with Kevin, one of our volunteer paralegals. Discussing his situation, Kevin helped to draft a letter to Hieu's agents requesting a 30% rent reduction that does not need to be repaid. After sending the letter, Hieu's agent agreed to these terms the very next day.

'[Anika] was really quick with everything, like the follow-up, and also tried their best to help out...I feel like I at least had someone else on my side who helped me work things out.'

Anika’s COVID-19 Rent Reduction Service was able to provide Hieu the free legal guidance and support he needed to succeed in his rent reduction claim, a result he may not have secured otherwise.

'If it wasn’t for Anika I don’t think I would have pursued the negotiations on my own... Now [my rent] is actually reduced.'

With a team of over 60 volunteers, Anika prides itself on working tirelessly to support Victorian tenants in situations just like Hieu’s everyday.

If you or someone you know is struggling as a renter, contact Anika Legal – a free legal service that puts renter’s rights first.

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