Each year* over 18,000 applications are made to evict Victorian renters for falling behind in rent. Through Justice Connect's holistic legal services, we know that financial insecurity is one of the main reasons that people face eviction into homelessness. We have developed an accessible solution at scale to help renters understand their rights if they are behind in rent, communicate with their landlord about their circumstances, and offer a payment plan to help them get on top of their arrears and stay in their homes. *Except during the COVID-19 eviction moratorium
Justice Connect has taken a human-centered design approach to understand and respond to the changing needs of renters facing eviction. Through our user-testing and client insights, we know that renters facing eviction don't know their legal rights and can feel overwhelmed, which is why we designed Dear Landlord to support renters every step of the way by: - generating tailored legal documents (e.g. a letter to the landlord, application to VCAT) - explaining the eviction process in plain language (including an animation and communications strategy); and - providing guidance to seek further financial and legal support.
Dear Landlord builds on Justice Connect's tenancy, housing and homelessness expertise to scale our reach and help renters in Victoria take action to avoid eviction. Dear Landlord equips renters to understand their rights and prevent avoidable evictions through considered digital design. Dear Landlord also recognises that renters face a range of legal and financial issues, and builds in off-ramps for renters into legal and financial help, including Justice Connect's intensive support, where our network of pro bono lawyers and in-house social workers provide ongoing legal and non-legal help.
Empowering self-advocacy Dear Landlord uses responsive logic-driven pathways, enabling help-seekers to determine where they are in the eviction process and what their options and rights are by simply answering a few questions in the browser-based tool. Keeping the information and resources practical, Dear Landlord instills confidence through educational and actionable guidance to address known anxieties that prevent help-seekers from acting on their legal rights. Design rooted in user-feedback Designed with a clear interface and using a warm colour palette, simple icons and call-out 'tips' in plain language, Dear Landlord allows help-seekers to digest large pieces of information quickly and accurately. We also ensured usability of the tool on the go, so you can generate and edit letters on mobile devices. Designing for connected challenges We integrated a calculator into Dear Landlord to allow users to suggest an affordable payment plan based on their financial circumstances with ease. Acknowledging that help-seekers are usually navigating multiple connected issues, Dear Landlord provides referrals to other support networks based on the help-seeker's answers. We also made sure we employed considerate language and an empathetic tone when referencing connected sensitive topics, such as family violence.