Tenant News

Winter Edition 2019


Ask For The Victorian Default Offer

The Victorian Default Offer will allow every household to ask for the default offer from their electricity provider. This is a fair price set independently from the Essential Service Commission and not determined by energy retailers.

Your Estimated Savings

Every household is different, but the Victorian Default Offer will see households result in average savings of between $310 and $450 per year.

Dont Pay Too Much

Energy providers have previously been able to set electricity prices however they like, which has caused prices to skyrocket in recent years. Households on electricity contracts will automatically be transferred onto the new default offer and those on expensive market contracts will also be able to request the new fair price.

Call Your Provider Today.

You should contact your electricity retailer to check what plan you are on and what will suit your household circumstances. From 1 July 2019 this could be the Victorian Default Offer, or it could be a different plan that offers a better deal. 

For further information visit:

$50 power saving bonus

Every Victorian household is eligible to apply for the $50 Power Saving Bonus from the Victorian Government to help ease bill stress.

Applications have been extended to 30 June, so if you haven’t as yet applied for the $50 Power Saving Bonus now is the time! To receive the $50 bonus and to review your utilities for cheaper energy plans visit:


Winter is a great time to find yourself seeking warmth, being less active and eating comfort foods, however, this can bring an increased risk of illness. Keep up healthy winter habits with these tips:

1. Enjoy winter seasonal vegetables and fruit
Kiwifruit, mandarins, oranges, broccoli, and carrots are all seasonal in winter, plus they’re full of cold-fighting vitamins.

2. Take time for tea
Black and green tea are rich in plant chemicals, which
have antioxidant effects. In studies of people who drink tea regularly, their blood vessels were healthier and their risk of heart disease lower.

3. Stews, casseroles and leftovers
A great winter warmer, and you can include lots of vegetables to boost your heart healthy meals such as casseroles and stews. When cooking stews and casseroles remember to trim fat off meat before cooking and add kidney beans, chickpeas,
soybeans or lentils for fibre.

Making extra means lunch is sorted too. For winter desserts, stew some fruit and save some for breakfast for the next day.

4. Sit less
Keep active around the house. Try jogging or skipping on the spot or even just stretching while you watch the television. Try getting active gardening, cleaning, washing the dog or dancing.

5. Rug up
Don’t wait for the heater to warm you up – rug up with layers to keep just as warm whilst saving on your energy bills too. For more information visit:


The flu season is shaping up to be one of the worst we’ve ever seen. The Australian flu season usually runs from June to September peaking in August, so it’s more important than ever to get your annual flu shot.

Vaccination is your greatest chance for protection against the flu, and it further helps protect the people around you who are not able to have a flu shot (such as babies aged less than 6 months).

The cost is between $15 and $35, or is FREE for people eligible under the National Immunisation Program (NIP).

Who’s eligible for the free flu shot?
Through the National Immunisation Program (NIP) the
following people are entitled to a free flu shot.

  • Adults aged 65 and over
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months or older
  • Adults and children (aged 6 months and over) with certain medical conditions
  • Pregnant women — during any stage of pregnancy. (This provides some protection for the baby.)

Where can you get vaccinations?
You can get your vaccine from a range of
providers including;

  • your local GP
  • local council or community health clinics
  • Aboriginal Medical Services
  • school based immunisation programs
  • some workplaces may offer vaccinations

For further information visit:



Did you know that you need to give 28 days’ written notice if you’re choosing to end your tenancy (unless there are extenuating circumstances)?  Find out your rights and responsibilities on our website.

If you have queries around urgent and non-urgent repairs, privacy information, tenant related damages or anything else regarding our tenancy policies, they’re on our website too.

For more information visit www.havenhomesafe.org.au/policies/ or you can contact your Property and Tenancy Manager.

tenant survey

Keep an eye out for the Tenant Survey which will be out by the end of June. This is an important opportunity for you to have your say on the programs we offer and to give feedback on your experience with us.


save some $$$

concessions cards and benefits

Concession Card benefits help by making necessary services more affordable for low-income households and help out with bills. Some of the benefits include free ambulance transport, dental service discounts, energy discounts, free kindergarten entry, free TAFE course enrolments and much more.

The Victorian Government provides concessional benefits to any person who holds an eligible concession card. For eligibility on a concession card and more information about offers available visit

Our friends at Good Shepherd are also an excellent resource for further financial advice and support https://www.goodshep.org.au/find-a-service/financial-support

rent first –  save a little extra

Being a little ahead on your rent can be a lifesaver when unexpected bills come in, or you are coming up to expensive times of the year.   By making additional payments towards your rent each week from now until the end of November, you could bank enough advance rent to use skip one week’s regular payment at the end of the year. Imagine how this could assist with Christmas, back to school time or those extra bills that come in the new year.

For Example:

  • Your weekly rent is $210.00, and your account is up to date (no arrears).
  • Pay your usual rent PLUS an additional $10 per week from July 1 until November 25.
  • You will accrue a credit balance of $210.00 = 1 week in advance available.

*Applying your advance rent payments to a chosen week is only available if you’ve banked enough in advance to equal your weekly rent payment.

For information or if you are experiencing difficulty paying your rent contact your Property & Tenancy Manager or visit :

HELPFUL information 

beating big bills

Energy and water bills can cause financial stress. Here are some great tips to stay ahead, save more and beat big bills.

Update your Centrepay to pay a little extra towards your water bill to stay ahead.
Take water wise showers by using a timer.
Call your water provider to see if you are eligible for a concession discount. If your bills are higher than they should be, check for leaks.

How to test for a leak:

  • Turn off all water in your house and record your water meter reading.
  • Leave everything off overnight or at least 2 hours.
  • Check your meter again and if the number has increased report it to our maintenance team


  • Contact your Property Manager for a utility comparison with Your Porter to check you are getting the best deal in your area.
  • Buy thermal/blackout curtains to save energy.
  • Clean/vacuum under your fridge and gas heaters. The build-up of dust on vents makes them use more electricity.
  • Turn off all appliances when not in use and don’t leave them in standby mode.
  • Use energy saving light bulbs.
  • Go to www.services.dhhs.vic.gov.au/concessions-andbenefits to see what discounts you are eligible for.
  • Spend less on heating by letting natural light in during the day, and stop cold drafts by blocking gaps at the bottom of doors.

Election and budget

Healthy smiles

Victorian school students will have brighter smiles thanks to the return of the ‘Smile Squad’ free dental vans, set to hit the road by term 3 this year.

All Victorian public primary and secondary school students will receive free check-ups, teeth cleaning, fluoride applications, fillings, root canals and other non-cosmetic treatments, plus their own free dental packs, complete with a toothbrush, and lots of education about the benefits of healthy teeth, helping students to have brighter smiles and families will avoid hefty dental bills.

Ask your school when the van is due.


  • Free dental care will be rolled out at all Victorian public primary and secondary schools
  • Three new train stations will be built around Bendigo
  • 1,000 new public housing properties in Melbourne
  • Develop the North East Link
  • 18 new V/Line VLocity trains will be shared between the Albury, Ballarat and Geelong lines 
  • Upgrades to Early Parenting Centres — and building new ones in Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo.
  • Funding to expand the 24-hour Maternal and Child Health Line
  • Baby Bundles will be given to about 35,000 new parents every year including a nappy bag, growsuit, safe sleeping bag, muslin wrap, teething ring, information on safety and parenting, and picture books
  • Rollout of the Government’s promised 15 hours of subsidised kindergarten programs for all three-year-olds
  • Establish the First People’s Assembly to work on Treaty negotiations with the state, fund communications to help the community understand the Treaty process and support for traditional owners to prepare for negotiations

USEFUL informatION


We strongly recommend having personal contents
insurance for your belongings as they are not covered by the Haven; Home, Safe building insurance policy. The following was submitted by Bendigo Tenant John Barry back in July who has had extensive experience in the insurance industry.

“The contents of your home are probably your mosT important asset along with your car. It is important that you consider insuring your contents as the time may arise when you have a loss and need to replace what has been damaged, stolen or subjected to a natural event, e.g. storm.

“Consider how much would it cost to replace any item or all items in your home; contents insurance is an option you may wish to consider.

“Use Yellow Pages or the internet to shop around for a quote, work out how much you wish to insure (in dollars) and find out what the policy covers.

To do this, estimate what it would cost to replace your possessions. This can be achieved by visiting each room with a pencil and paper and writing down your contents worth to replace. An example is a TV ten years old and costing $1,000 when purchased may now be worth $100. Insure it for what it would be to replace it today e.g. $3,000.

You should insure it for what it would cost to replace, not the original purchase price. If you have a claim and are underinsured your claim can be downgraded or denied. Insurance companies have different methods of how they treat underinsured. Ask your insurer what you are insured for”.


1. Consider what you are covered for
You are covered for your contents which includes events such as fire, vandalism or malicious damage, flood and storm. These are only a few of the events that may generate a claim. These events are what is within the boundary of your rental property and does not cover what you take out into the street, e.g. watches, jewellery, cameras and mobile phones etc. All events are outlined in the Product Disclosure Document, (PDS).

2. Do you need accidental damage?
You may wish to consider adding this to your policy – that is unintentional damage such as a child knocks over the TV. If you don’t have this option, then you can’t claim for damage. This is an additional premium.

3. Portable Items Cover
Under this option your insurer covers portable items
anywhere – that is inside your home, in the open air at your site and outside your site, for example, CDs, DVDs, stamps etc. There are limitations on the amount you can claim. Example, if you own $20,000 worth of DVDs then the amount payable for a claim is $2,500. If you want to cover the $20,000 then you need to contact your insurer and pay an additional premium.

4. Fusion
This cover is for the burnout of electrical motors such as refrigerators, washing machines. An interesting point is that this option covers spoilage of food with a payment of $500 to replace the spoiled food or prescription medication in a refrigerator or freezer. Remember, item 1 is for the insured events whereas 2, 3, and 4 are additional options that can be included.

Insurance is for what may happen and if it does then you need to make a claim. If your claim is rejected and you believe it is valid tell the claims officer that you wish to appeal the decision to the Internal Disputes Resolution (IDR). This is the insurance company’s process when appeals are forthcoming.

If you are still not satisfied with the IDR outcome, then you can go to the Financial Ombudsman Service Australia (FOS). The FOS procedure is on the Internet. If you don’t have internet access, phone (1800 367 287) and ask if they have a document that they can send to you.

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of your claim by your insurer then the above procedures should be of assistance. You should consult with your insurance company for professional advice regarding your contents. Remember ask questions when taking out insurance

Disclaimer: John Barry has provided advice to the best of his ability and at the time of submission the information was deemed accurate by RACV. This does not replace professional advice from your specific insurer. In no event is HHS and/or /John Barry liable for any direct, indirect, special, incidental or consequential loss or damage arising out of the use of this information. HHS assumes no responsibility for accuracy, correctness, timeliness, or content of the materials provided.

important dates for your diary

public holidays

All HHS offices will be closed on the following public holiday:
Queens Birthday Monday 10 June

For urgent and emergency
maintenance during these
times contact 1300 100 242

community events

Men’s Health week
10 – 16 June 2019

7 – 14 July 2019

Homelessness Week
4 – 10 August 2019

International Youth Day
Monday 12 August 2019

maintenance updates

report a repair

We are now well into using the one state wide number 1300 100 242 for reporting repairs and maintenance during business or after hours.

Whilst our Call Centre continues to operate outside of business hours, only urgent and essential maintenance will be attended to. Remember, if reporting an urgent repair after hour, make sure it really is urgent.

If it is deemed to be of a non-urgent nature, the cost of the repairs may be billed to you.

Keep this list handy and check before making a report. Urgent Repairs are defined in the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 and include:

  • A burst water service
  • A blocked or broken toilet system
  • A serious roof leak
  • A gas leak
  • A dangerous electrical fault
  • Flooding or serious flood damage
  • Breakdown of an essential service or appliance that we provided for hot water, water, cooking, heating or washing
  • Breakdown of the gas, electricity or water supply
  • Appliance, fitting or fixture breakdown that we provided which uses or supplies water, causing a substantial amount of water to be wasted
  • Any fault or damage that makes your home unsafe or not secure
  • A serious fault in a lift or staircase

annual gas appliance safety check and gutter cleans

HHS will be undertaking its annual gas appliance safety check and gutter cleans in the coming months. We will be notifying tenants of when this will occur.

If for some reason you are not home at the time contact us prior, on 1300 100 242 where we can arrange for an alternate time.

This time of year is also a good time to clear your gutters (if you have access) as they can overflow from high rainfall causing floods.

vacating a property

Are you leaving us? If you are moving on and vacating there are a few things that you are required to do. It is your responsibility to ensure that your rent is paid up to date including the tenancy end date and any outstanding repairs or maintenance issues are attended too including the removal of all of your belongings and cleaning of the house prior to vacating.

If you are unsure of what is expected you can contact your Property & Tenancy Manager or visit:

There’s even a video to show you more!

Watch 10 things to do before you vacate

Winter events

Don’t hide away over winter, there is plenty to get out to see and do.



9 June 2019, 10am – 4pm

The Taste of Portugal features Portuguese and Brazilian street food and beverages, cooking demos, samba dance classes, tourism and cultural displays, art and photographic exhibition and much more!

Cost: Free
Location: Queen Victoria Markets, North Melbourne


8 – 10 June 2019, 10am – 3pm

Heathcote on Show is the annual showcase of the wine tasting, winery dinners, long lunches, masterclasses, music, vintage launches, museum specials and over 25 cellar doors open just for you.

Cost: Free and ticketed events
Location: Barrack Reserve, Heathcote

9 June 2019, 2pm

Enjoy an exhilarating walk in our Botanic Garden when deciduous trees have lost their leaves and the evergreen conifers reveal their grandeur.

Cost: Gold coin donation
Location: Geelong Botanic Gardens



3 – 4 July 2019

The Victorian Winter Fair is the largest single breed Holstein cattle show in the country, with exhibitors travelling from all over Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania to compete for the coveted Supreme Champions.

Cost: Free
Location: Bendigo Showgrounds


20 July 2019, 10am – 4pm

Saturday 20 July is the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landing. Celebrate this milestone by discovering the Moon, its origin, its Earth orbit, its phases and eclipses in an immersive planetarium experience.

Cost: $6 – $22, Must book.
Location: Geelong Gallery


27 – 28 July 2019

Open House Melbourne features over 200 properties.

Including new buildings, plus a host of tours, talks, exhibitions and film screenings, it’s one of the city’s biggest celebrations of architecture.

Cost: Free
Location: Various sites Melbourne



9 -11 August 2019

An annual three-day event which gathers more than 100 writers for discussions, interviews and debates about every kind of writing.

Cost: Free and ticketed events
Location: Various venues throughout Bendigo

17 August 2019, 9am – 2pm

Bakers from around the country converge in Mildura to find out who bakes the ultimate vanilla slice.The Vanilla Slice Market Hall will be in full swing for you to buy and try from local and visiting bakeries.

Cost: Free
Location: Langtree Mall, Mildura

22 – 24 August 2019

Three consecutive nights in three key precincts, Melbourne’s iconic parks and gardens will undergo a transformation to host White Night Reimagined.

Cost: Free
Location: Various venues Melbourne



28 August – 5 September 2019

Melbourne Fashion Week takes over the city, celebrating the best of Australian Fashion with more than 150 events providing a launching pad for emerging and established designers, models and brands.

Cost: Free and ticketed events
Location: Various venues throughout Melbourne

looking to learn




Wednesday 19 June 2019, 3pm – 6:30pm
For anyone looking to start their new career and are looking for study and employment options. This is your opportunity to meet Industry leading educators, employers, PTS Recruitment team along with Community organizations and Job Networks to
discuss job opportunities and study options.

45 Main Road West,
Saint Albans, VIC 3021


Wednesday 19 June, 10am – 2pm

An excellent opportunity to explore career pathways and training opportunities in the disability sector!
It will provide an opportunity to talk face to face with organisations to learn about jobs, training, education, and career options in the local disability sector.

The Hub, Sunraysia Institute of TAFE
453 Benetook Ave, Mildura.


Wednesday 19 June 2019, 6:30pm arrival
Join Professor Michael Berk and Dr Andrew Bradbeer as they explore the link between sleep and mental health. Find out why you need sleep and how this impacts your mental health. Learn the science behind these links and practical solutions on what you can do to help with sleep.

Geelong Library and Heritage Centre
51 Little Malop St, Geelong VIC 3220




Tuesday 16, 23 and 30 July 2019
Adults have the opportunity to operate, build and code robots using our Lego Mindstorm EV3 kits. Come along to our series of three sessions to learn some new technology-based skills while interacting with like-minded people – awesome! Suitable for beginners and those more advanced.

required at all sessions and children must
be accompanied by an adult.

Eaglehawk Library
1 Sailors Gully Road, Eaglehawk,
Victoria 3556


Monday 22 and 29 July, and Monday 5 and 12 August 2019
A fantastic introduction to science for little kids, encouraging scientific exploration, discovery and learning. Includes handson activities, Q&A time. A discovery box and book is lent to each child for more experimenting at home.  Best suited to children aged 4-6 years.

*Attendance is required at all sessions and children must be accompanied by an adult.

Bendigo Library
251-259 Hargreaves Street,
Bendigo, Victoria 3550