RTA and VCAT Advice Guide

CHFV is regularly contacted with queries and for advice from the community housing and homelessness sector on the following: 

The following are CHFV’s recommendations to ensure best practice at Community Housing Organisations.

1. Training 

If your organisation has any dealings relating to the RTA, VCAT or HR Charter, please ensure staff are well prepared and trained at the relevant CHFV course which are run regularly as introductions for new workers and as a refresher for experienced tenancy workers. 

To see a schedule of courses click here http://chfv.org.au/courses/

2. Refer to the RTA and The Charter

Members can access the relevant legislation on the CHFV Website http://chfv.org.au/legislation/ and you can print relevant sections as needed.

If you wish to purchase paper copies of the Acts you can do so via:

Anstat (SAI Global)
Unit 3, 18 Salmon St, Port Melbourne VIC 3207

PH: 131 242

Online Store http://infostore.saiglobal.com/store/

3. Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) website

The CAV website contains many useful resources that will assist you with your general enquiries.



4. Tenants Union of Victoria (TUV) website

The TUV has many excellent resources including step-by-step guides and fact sheets which outline and explain the legal rights of tenants, and the obligations of landlords, Public, Community and private.


5. Contact CHFV

After your organisation has looked at the above resources to resolve the matters at hand, contact Mark Smoljo from CHFV to receive tailored advice on the matter. Mark is an experienced worker in the RTA and VCAT processes.

Mark Smoljo is employed by CHFV two days a week (usually Wednesdays and Thursdays). Mark has 18 years’ experience working as a tenancy manager and 24 years of presenting cases at the VCAT.

Mark’s advice is based on his experience at the Tribunal over many years. His knowledge of VCAT’s latest thinking is gained through his membership of the VCAT Residential Tenancies Act Users Group and networking with community housing workers in the sector.  As an experienced tenancy worker he can also offer other practical solutions that may enable you to avoid the VCAT process.

Mark can provide advice from an experienced practitioner point of view. He does not give legal advice.

To contact Mark Smoljo call 0417 356 094 or email msmoljo@hotmail.com and mark.smoljo@chfv.org.au with a brief explanation of the matter.

If Mark cannot take the call please leave a clear short message, you name and organisation, and mobile contact number only. Mark will contact you to arrange a suitable time for the consultation call.

6. Professional Legal Advice for Complex Matters

CHFV has negotiated an agreement for member organisations to access legal advice on the above matters from, Russell Kennedy, for a discounted rate.  Russell Kennedy is one of Victoria’s leading full-service law firms offering a comprehensive range of legal services to its clients. Russell Kennedy has the skills, expertise and resources required to provide high quality legal services to CHFV members.

Russell Kennedy is also passionate about access to justice for everyone.  Its commitment is embedded within the culture of the firm. It has one of the highest levels of contribution per lawyer and participation rates in Australia.

Russell Kennedy will provide CHFV members with practical, expert legal solutions which meet your needs all of the time and excellent customer service in a manner which provides a positive experience.  Russell Kennedy’s team for CHFV members is:



Victor Harcourt,

Client Relationship



Rosemary Southgate,





Paul McCarthy,



Emma Dunlevie,

Senior Associate


Ben Lloyd, 


Please contact Victor Harcourt, Client Relationship Principal, on 9609 1639, or email vharcourt@rk.com.au

For further information on Russell Kennedy, visit www.rk.com.au.

CHFV advises that legal advice should only be sought as a last resort or if you require a barrister to advocate for your organisation at VCAT or the Supreme Court. Also please ensure management of your organisation approves engagement of professional legal advice from Russell Kennedy.

CHFV has negotiated a 20% discount for CHFV Members only, to access advice from Russell Kennedy. The applicable rates will be discussed with you if you decide to engage their services:

As part of the value-add for CHFV, Russell Kennedy will also provide the following benefits: 


Fee (excl. GST)

Level 1 – Provide same day phone advice

Phone calls of less than 6 minutes duration won’t be charged for

Level 2 - Provide an initial consultation, with detailed written and/or verbal advice in a timely manner

The first 12 minutes of the consultation won’t be charged for

Level 3 - Represent the member at the tribunal or brief barristers to appear

the daily rate for us appearing or instructing will be limited to 6 hours for time up to 8 hours, thereafter