Meet Louise: How Anika's Residental Repairs Service is helping Victorian Renters

Sam Kilpatrick

Louise, pregnant and weeks away from the birth of her second child was at her wits end. For 9 months, she and her partner had pleaded with landlords and agents to get simple repairs performed in her new rental property.

When Louise's young family moved in, they faced a leaking roof, broken oven and stove, exposed wiring and windows sealed shut. “After months of trying to get any action from the landlord, I broke down, burst into tears” Louise explains.

“I felt like I was on the edge of having a heart attack. At times, I wanted to give up, it was all just getting too hard.”

Louise had moved into the property in early June, assured by her agent that a new oven and dishwasher would be installed to replace the failing and dangerous appliances at the property. However, upon moving in, Louise was met with excuses, and found an increasing number of problems with the property. A Consumer Affairs Inspection found 12 urgent and non-urgent repairs.

“We’d tried following the advice from Consumer Affairs but nothing made the landlord budge! The landlords were lawyers themselves, so I was nervous about challenging them in case they knew some loophole. When they appeared at the property unannounced and started yelling at me – that's when I really started to lose sleep.”

 Anika aims to serve clients in situations like this. For Louise:

“[Anika] was exactly the service I needed - I couldn’t have asked for anything better. I was so used to everyone else that I’d dealt with letting me down – agents, landlords, even law firms. Sam (the Anika law student) was just that one solid person I could completely count on when I needed him. The empathy that everyone at Anika showed for our situation was amazing, and with Sam taking over, everything just became so much easier for me.”

We empower clients like Louise. Anika works to provide an effective legal solution and a human-centred approach:

“I desperately didn’t want to go [to VCAT], part of me just wanted it all to go away, I couldn’t deal with it. My trust had been shattered. But I spoke to Sam the day before and he calmed me down and gave me the confidence to go to VCAT. I knew I wouldn’t be able to rest until it was done, and with the baby coming I just needed these repairs sorted.”

Anika negotiated with Louise's landlord and helped Louise prepare for her hearing at VCAT where Louise’s landlord agreed to a binding consent order for all 12 repairs. The repairs were completed the week before the birth of her second child.

“I felt like this really sad person that I wasn't. All these issues had just felt like a massive weighted blanket. It had just gone on for so long without any end insight. To get the repairs completed, and within such a short time frame - I just started to feel like me again.”
Image: Louise with her daughter
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