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Brenda’s experience trying to rent a house

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The incidents portrayed in this story are inspired by real complaints received by the Commission, but all names and other identifying details have been changed. The photo above is a stock photo, posed by a model.

‘It’s been so difficult for me to find the right home for me and my kids. To be told I was not able to rent this home because I am a single mum was a huge blow.’

Brenda, an Aboriginal woman with four children, applied to rent a property. Her application included excellent references from previous properties and details about her employment with an Aboriginal organisation.

When she contacted the real estate agent to see how her application was going, the rental agent told her that the landlord preferred applicants without children and who were not single parents.

How does the law apply to Brenda’s situation?

Under Victoria’s Equal Opportunity Act it is against the law to discriminate against someone because of their race, marital status, or parental and carer status.

Accommodation providers have a legal responsibility to make sure that everyone who uses their services is treated fairly and with respect.

Brenda could make a complaint of race, parental and carer status and marital status discrimination against the rental agent and the rental providers.

What outcomes are available?

If Brenda decides to make a complaint to the Commission, she could ask for outcomes that are important to her and her community. These could include:

  • telling her story and being heard
  • an acknowledgement of her experience
  • an apology made to her or within the community
  • a promise to change or stop the behaviour
  • financial compensation
  • access to other rental opportunities
  • new or updated equal opportunity policies at the real estate agency
  • equal opportunity training for real estate agency staff.

Are you in a similar situation?

You can start by contacting us with your enquiry or complaint – we will then take you through your rights and options.

We can listen to your story and provide you with information about your rights under our laws.

We have staff specifically trained to support First Nations peoples make enquiries and complaints.

When you contact us, we will ask if you identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander so that we can provide you with an inclusive and culturally appropriate service.

You can also choose to speak directly to a First Nations staff member if one is available.

This is our tailored approach for First Nations peoples.

You can contact us by

Phone

Call 1300 292 153 – weekdays from 9 am–4 pm.

Email

Send us an email at complaints@veohrc.vic.gov.au with your issue and whether you would like to speak with a First Nations staff member.

Online chat

Talk with us through our live online chat. Available weekdays from 10 am–4 pm.

Online complaint form

Send us your complaint through our online complaint form.

Letter

Send us a letter to our address: Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission, Level 3, 204 Lygon Street, Carlton, Victoria 3053

Read more about

Tailored services for First Nations peoples

The complaints process, support, and services for First Nations peoples.

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Address
Level 3, 204 Lygon Street Carlton Victoria 3053

General enquiries
enquiries@veohrc.vic.gov.au

Reception
1300 891 848

Enquiry line
1300 292 153 or (03) 9032 3583

Interpreters
1300 152 494

NRS Voice Relay
1300 555 727 then use 1300 292 153

Media enquiries
0447 526 642

The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission acknowledge we work on the traditional lands of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We also work remotely and serve communities on the lands of other Traditional Custodians.

We pay our respects to their Elders past and present.