Standing up for the right to a safe, secure home

13 Dec 2023

As more people are facing housing and financial insecurity across Australia, we have helped prevent evictions and untangle complex legal needs to remove barriers to safe, secure housing. Here are just two examples from 2023 (names have been changed).

Bilal rented a property with her 5 children. When her aunt suffered a serious car accident in Somalia, Bilal travelled to Somalia to help care for her and support her family. While in Somalia, Bilal's Centrelink payments were stopped, her rental rebate cancelled, and she fell into rental arrears. Her landlord obtained a possession order to evict her and her children. When Bilal found out about the order, she returned to Australia and sought legal help.

We helped Bilal successfully apply for a review of the order and argued that she and her children should be allowed to remain in their home, and pay off the arrears through a payment plan. The Tribunal agreed that to evict Bilal and her children into homelessness would be disproportionate and unreasonable.

Azeem is a refugee from Afghanistan who travelled to Australia as an unaccompanied minor. He spent a number of years in a processing facility before being granted a Safe Haven Enterprise Visa. In 2020, Azeem was the victim of a random, racially motivated assault which injured his dominant hand and arm. He lost his job as a result and was evicted from his rental property. While homeless and living in his car, Azeem received multiple fines, including parking tickets, public transport fines and unregistered driving fines totalling over $11,000.

We helped Azeem report the 2020 assault to the police and access $8,500 in victims compensation. We also applied to have Azeem's fines incurred while homeless waived and obtained a Work and Development Permit sponsor for Azeem, through which he attended English classes and safe driving courses as a way to pay off remaining fines. We were happy to hear that Azeem has returned to work and secured stable accommodation.

Clayton Utz communications are intended to provide commentary and general information. They should not be relied upon as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular transactions or on matters of interest arising from this communication. Persons listed may not be admitted in all States and Territories.