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How Rental Agents can assist those fleeing domestic violence.

Each May, Queensland marks Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Month. This year’s theme is ‘We all play a part in domestic and family violence prevention’.

As managing agents, your role can be vital in assisting DFV victims to flee a violent situation and move into safe housing.

The process of finding, applying, and being approved for a rental property can be daunting at the best of times – so for someone fleeing domestic violence, it can seem an insurmountable obstacle.

We hope the following can give you ideas on how you can do your part in assisting those escaping domestic violence and needing to secure a safe rental home:

 

Searching for a rental property

  • ‘Fast Exit’ Safety Function on your Website A ‘Fast Exit’ button exits the page and clears it from the reader’s browsing history. Consider adding this to your Properties for Rent webpage so a DFV victim can secretly look for properties and not have any evidence.
  • Easy Online Searching – Clear photos and detailed description of each property on your rental list will make it easier for DFV victims to shortlist their preferences and not waste critical time enquiring about or viewing unsuitable properties.

Property viewings

  • Inspection not necessary – While it is preferable for applicants to inspect the property before applying, consider making an exception for those fleeing domestic violence, who may not have time to visit properties or may be restricted by a controlling partner.
  • Submit application first – Alternatively, you can allow prospects to submit an application to be short-listed before inspecting the property, saving them having to visit many properties unnecessarily.
  • Private viewings – People fleeing violent situations may feel unsafe or stressed in large crowds. Offer to hold a private viewing.

Applying for a property

  • Safe paper option– Ensure that your agency offers both paper and online options, to accommodate the individual’s situation.
  • Quick processing – People fleeing DFV are often in a time-critical situation.  Expediting application processing, and allowing prospects to apply for several properties at once, will save them precious time.
  • Personal data safety – Consider carefully your processes and privacy policy. Have a procedure for how personal information is released, stored, and deleted.

Safe room

If you have the resources available in your office, consider setting aside a ‘safe room’ equipped with a phone and computer, for DFV survivors to look online for properties or fill out an application form in safety.

Your Team’s role

Your team members can be trained to watch for signs of domestic abuse such as controlling behaviour and financial abuse. DFV victims often think that they are alone, so sometimes all it takes is for you to ask ‘Are you ok?’. When the victim is ready to seek help, they will know your agency is a safe place to go.

The current shortage of available rental properties is tough for many tenants, and in many cases you may not have a suitable property for them.

However, if you can assist in any way to ease the process of finding safe secure housing, which is every person’s right,  it will make all the difference to someone looking for a safe place to live.

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