Earlier this year Loddon Campaspe Community Legal Centre worked with Housing Justice to help a former prisoner, who had been blacklisted by the National Tenancy Database, to clear his name and to secure accommodation following his release.
Steve* was having difficulty securing a tenancy due to his blacklisting by a National Tenancy Database. Steve contacted Housing Justice** for assistance. (Housing Justice provides advice, information and assistance to tenants and helps clients to stand up for themselves.)
Housing Justice investigated the source of the listing and discovered that there had been an adverse finding against Steve at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT). Steve knew nothing of the finding.
Prior to his imprisonment Steve had been living with his partner in a joint tenancy. He was incarcerated before the tenancy ended. The real estate agent contacted Steve’s partner and offered to renew the tenancy. Steve’s partner visited him in jail and asked him to sign the new lease. Steve refused as he couldn’t afford the rent and didn’t need a house.
Nonetheless, Steve’s partner returned a “signed” lease to the real estate agent.
During the second tenancy period, Steve’s partner fell behind in the rent and allegedly damaged the property. The real estate agent took both parties to VCAT, although Steve was unaware of this action. The real estate agent obtained an adverse order in the absence of Steve and his partner.
Housing Justice referred Steve to Loddon Campaspe Community Legal Centre. We lodged an application with VCAT to have Steve’s name removed from the adverse order and an application for a rehearing. As the 14-day time limit for a rehearing had passed, we made submissions in support of an out-of-time application. VCAT granted the rehearing and affirmed the original order with Steve’s name removed.
*Not his real name or image
**Housing Justice, like Loddon Campaspe and Goulburn Valley Community Legal Centres, is a program of the Advocacy and Rights Centre, trading as ARC Justice.
Image: Kreg Steppe via Creative Commons