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Home of Your Own

A self help tool for renters affected by family violence

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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Using Home of Your Own

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An intervention order (IVO) is a court order to protect a person, their children and their property from the person using violence. If you are experiencing family violence, you can apply for a family violence IVO. If the police believe you (or your children) are in immediate danger of family violence, they may also apply for an IVO on your behalf. They can do this without your consent.  

An IVO will state that someone using violence cannot do certain things. If they break the conditions of the IVO, they can be charged by the police with a criminal offence.   

If you have an intervention order or safety notice from another state or territory, you will have the same protections under the rental laws in Victoria, like an IVO from Victoria. 

Here are some of the common legal words used in Home of Your Own, and what they mean. 

Rental agreement: Also known as a lease, it is an agreement you have with a rental provider to rent a property. This can be for a fixed term (e.g. 12 months) or it can be periodic (e.g. month to month). 

Rental provider: Also known as a landlord, this is the person or people that owns the property. 

Notice to vacate: A notice to vacate is a document that tells you why the rental provider wants to evict you. A rental provider must give you a notice to vacate before they can legally evict you. 

VCAT: The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal is a neutral Tribunal that helps to resolve renting disputes between renters and rental providers. 

Possession order: At a hearing, VCAT can make a possession order, which means the rental provider can legally evict you from the property. 

Warrant of possession: If VCAT makes a possession order, the rental provider can request a warrant of possession, which gives the police the power to evict renters from a property. 

Compliance order: At a hearing, VCAT can make a compliance order telling the renters or the rental provider to do something or stop doing something. This can happen if you get a breach of duty notice requesting that you (or your visitors) stop doing those specific actions, and the same or similar breach happens again. 

Home of Your Own is a free, online self-help tool that can help you understand your rights and options if you have issues with a current, previous or future rental home due to family violence. 
 
By answering a few anonymous questions, you will receive a personal summary about your rights, and practical steps to take, including creating documents tailored to your situation to help you communicate with a rental provider. You will also find out what available services can help you through legal, family violence, financial or housing issues. 

You may have options such as: 

  • Ending or breaking a lease early 
  • Removing a co-renter from a rental agreement (also known as a lease) 
  • Making a home safer through locks and security features 
  • Avoiding the cost of damage or unpaid rent 
  • Getting your belongings back after leaving a home  
  • Clearing your rental history if you are listed on a tenancy database (also known as a ‘blacklist’) 

If you would prefer not to answer any questions, you can browse our general information about your rights and options or find the right service for your needs. 

  • You live in or have recently left a private rental property in Victoria  
  • You feel unsafe in your rental property due to family violence  
  • Family violence has affected your rental, even if you are not on the lease 
     

If you are unsure if Home of Your Own can help, but you are experiencing or at risk of homelessness in Victoria, you can apply for more legal help from Justice Connect or access other services who can assist

Family violence (also known as domestic violence) is any behaviour from a partner, caregiver, family member or guardian that makes you fear for your safety or wellbeing or that controls you. 
 
Family violence is not only physical violence. It also includes violent threats, stalking, controlling behaviour, unwanted sexual behaviour, verbal and financial abuse. 
 
When renting, violent or controlling behaviour can cause damage, affect your ability to pay rent, or impact your rental agreement and rental history. 
 

Here are some examples of family violence relationships: 

  • Intimate partner abuse: violent behaviour used by a current or former spouse or partner against the other spouse or partner. 
  • Dating abuse: violent behaviour used by a casual partner against the other partner. 
  • Child abuse: violent behaviour or mistreatment towards a child or young person by a parent or caregiver. Under Victorian law, exposing a child to any form of family violence is also a reportable child abuse offence – so if a person is abusive towards their spouse in front of their child or children, child abuse has occurred. 
  • Elder abuse: violent behaviour or mistreatment towards an older person by a partner or family member, often including financial abuse, controlling behaviours and/or negligence. 
  • Parental abuse: violent behaviour towards a parent by an adolescent child or dependent. 

Home of Your Own is a free online self-help tool for renters affected by family violence, created by Justice Connect. If you are experiencing or at risk of homelessness in Victoria, and need more assistance, you can also apply for further legal help from Justice Connect’s Homeless Law.

Speaking to a lawyer, family violence worker or housing worker could help you get the support you need. Browse our list of support options to find the right service for your needs. 

If you are behind on rent or struggling to pay rent, you may also benefit from using our free, online Dear Landlord self-help tool to understand your options and take steps to avoid eviction when you are behind on rent. 

You may be able to access housing services, family violence support, financial counselling and payments or support packages to assist you. These services can help you to escape violence, make a home safer, avoid homelessness, or become safely housed. Many of the services that can assist with payments require you to be in contact with a family violence worker. 
 
Browse our list of support options to find the right service to help you.

In Victoria, the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (RTA) defines rights and responsibilities for renters and rental providers (formerly referred to as landlords). The RTA contains laws which protect renters affected by family violence. In addition to your housing rights, there are also protections to help you avoid the financial impacts of family violence on your rental. 
 
Home of Your Own offers personalised summaries of these rights, as well as options to seek support or take action including creating customized documents for your situation. Browse topics to explore the rights of Victorian renters affected by family violence, who are looking to stay safely in their home, leave a property, or find a new home. 

Home of Your Own is a free online self-help tool created by Justice Connect’s Homeless Law program. 

Justice Connect designs and delivers high impact interventions to increase access to legal support and progress social justice. 
 

Our Homeless Law program is Victoria’s specialist free legal service for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. We focus on preventing homelessness by offering integrated support from lawyers and social workers. We advocate for better laws and policies for people who are homeless or people facing homelessness.
 
Since 2014, we have also provided integrated legal and social work support directly to women facing homelessness, family violence and financial insecurity through our Women’s Homelessness Prevention Project. 
 

Justice Connect is grateful to our funders for their generous support of A Home of Your Own: 

  • ERDI Foundation 
  • Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation 
  • Victorian Legal Services Board + Commissioner 

We particularly acknowledge the people with lived experience of family violence, as well as the family violence and homelessness advocates who shared their insights and contributed to the design and development of this tool.  

You can read more about Justice Connect on our website