From a black-hole to a super-highway

14 May 2017

Terrence presented to service with an eviction notice for rent arrears. He was on a low income due to personal reasons which was not enough to cover his high rent. Our tenancy worker Shane advocated for Terrence over a period of 1.5 years to help him maintain his tenancy, whilst our outreach team worked with Terrence to find alternative housing. Over this period Shane represented Terrence at VCAT 3 times over attempts to evict him and also during a change over of real estate agents. HAAG paid a portion of Terrence’s arrears to ensure he was not evicted until he had somewhere to go. After Terrence had spent all his super paying his rent he was then eligible for social/public housing. Anne worked with Terrence over 7 months and made three housing applications. Due to Terrence’s fluctuating income, his eligibility for public housing changed and Anne had to work to have Terrence’s early housing status appealed. This was successful and Terrence was eventually offered a public housing unit where he could stay for life and only ever pay 25% of his income in rent. Shane and Anne both helped Terrence move into his new property with the assistance of a removalist and purchased whitegoods to set him up.

What was the hardest thing to deal with?

The hardest thing was probably being in this silly grey area – a black hole- where I didn’t earn enough to keep up with the rent but earnt too much to be eligible for public housing. I had to pay the rent somehow or else I’d be homeless, so I had to access and use up all of my superannuation. That was scary- that is meant to be your lifeline not for a landlord! Still, even as I did this they kept trying to evict me. Once I wasted all of that I was then eligible for Public Housing and Anne could step in and start helping with that. It seems so ridiculous that I couldn’t just apply sooner.

How do you feel now?

I have certainty. I am here for good. I can pay the rent. I don’t have bullying real estate agents sending me notice after notice. HAAG has worked tirelessly to get me a good accommodation to improve my lifestyle and my health. This was a tremendous achievement from Shane and Anne and all of the staff at HAAG who have supported me unconditionally. HAAG was constantly in touch with me to ensure I was in good shape during this stressful time. Now I’m on a super highway!