How we started
In 1974, activist tenants in Royal Court in Parkville formed a tenants association to tackle their landlord. Rents were rising, despite the landlord’s failure to carry out repairs. They soon realised that the root problem was the outdated tenancy legislation of the day.
Tenant-landlord relations were principally governed by common law and by the Landlord and Tenant Act 1958, which had as much to say about standing corn and barley as the rights of tenants.
At this time awareness of poverty in Australia was growing. The 1972-1975 Commission of Inquiry into Poverty led by Ronald Henderson established that tenants were among the most likely to experience poverty.
The Royal Court tenants took their story to the media and in the process raised the issue of tenancy law reform in Victoria. Support and momentum steadily grew, leading to the formation of the Tenants Union of Victoria. The first informal legal advice service for tenants was established by Michael Salvaris at the Brotherhood of St Laurence in October 1974.