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Securing your finances and future - steps to take and where to go for help.

3c. Housing matters

Est. read time: 3 min

This document covers things to think about when deciding where to live after separating from your partner.

Things to think about to do with the home where you were living with your partner.

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New tenancy laws to assist Western Australian renters affected by family and domestic violence are now in force.  These new laws make it easier for you whether you choose to stay in the rental property or to leave.  Details can be found at 3i. Tenancy Information and Laws.

 

  • You may be able to, or decide to, stay where you were living before you separated. If this is a rental property make sure that you remove your ex-partner's name from the lease;
  • If you move out of a rental property, make sure that you remove your name from the lease, or you could be liable for unpaid rent or any damage caused by your ex-partner;
  • If you move out of home and your utilities and phone bills are in joint names or your name, speak to your service provider to have the information updated, or risk being liable for your ex-partner's bills;
  • If you move out of a home that you jointly own, it will not affect your rights when it comes to financial settlement;
  • If you believe your ex-partner is going to sell a property in which you have a financial interest, you may need to lodge a caveat and should seek legal advice.

Short Term Accommodation Options

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  • In the shorter term, many women who have left home after domestic violence are able to stay with family or friends. If not then there are a number of refuges available. If you need access to a women's refuge you can call any of the following organisations. They have access to vacancy information for all refuges:
    • Crisis Care (24 hours)
      •  08 9223 1111 – Metro
      • 1800 199 008  – Country
    • Women's DV Helpline (24 hours)
      • 08  9233 1188 – Metro
      • 1800 007 339 – Country
    • EntryPoint (Mon – Fri 9am – 7pm; Sat 9am – 5pm)
      • 08 6496 0001 or 1800 124 684

Alternatively, can contact refuges directly. Contact details can be found at the Referral Guide for Domestic Violence Services Western Australia

Longer Term Accommodation Options

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  • Private rental can be expensive but you have more choice about where you live.
    • To find properties available for rent visit the realestate.com.au , Domain or REIWA websites to search for properties within your price range and preferred location.
    • You may be eligible for an interest free loan from the Dept. of Housing for bond and 2 weeks rent in advance to help you access private rental. More information can be found at the WA housing authority website.
    • You may be eligible for rent assistance from Centrelink – more information can be found at the Department of Human Services website. The website also provides information on other Centrelink payments you may be eligible to receive, including Crisis Payments.
    • You can get advice in relation to renting a house at the Tenancy WA website.
  • Social Housing includes public housing provided by the WA Government as well as community housing provided by not – for – profit community organisations. Social housing is not an immediate option, as waiting times can be lengthy. Applicants are income tested and assessed according to their level of housing need, with those in greatest need offered housing first. Find out more at the Department of Communities rental assistance website.
  • The National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) is a government funded initiative to provide affordable housing to low income earners. NRAS properties are provided by approved tenancy managers which include community housing organizations as well as private real estate agents. For more information including eligibility and how to apply for properties on the scheme visit Department of Communities NRAS website.

Safety Issues

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  • Ask government agencies, utilities companies, banks or other finance providers, law firms, doctors, schools, etc. to keep the details of your new address private.
  • Consider getting a PO Box for important mail. For more information about mail safety, see: 3h. Mail Safety.
  • Choose a well-lit, populated area to live. For more ideas about accommodation security, see: 3e. Staying Safe at Home.

Safe As Houses

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Safe as Houses is a program provided by TenancyWA that aims to prevent homelessness for women and children affected by family and domestic violence. It provides legal and support services for women and children who are at risk of homelessness including:

  • negotiating and defending eviction proceedings;
  • seeking orders to have a client recognised as a tenant on a lease;
  • seeking orders for the termination of a lease and return of the bond to allow a woman and her children to establish a new tenancy; and
  • legal advice on property related matters.

More information on the services offered by Safe As Houses can be found at the TenancyWA Safe as Houses website.

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