If things go wrong
Here's a quick checklist for handling things that could go wrong with your accommodation arrangements.
Problems with a booking
If things do go badly and you think your travel agent or company you booked through is at fault, you're entitled to make a complaint.
If you have a complaint you should discuss it with the company you booked through first. If you are not satisfied with the outcome you should put your complaint in writing.
If you're dealing with a licensed agent and are still unsatisfied, contact Consumer Affairs Victoria for advice or to lodge a complaint. If Consumer Affairs Victoria can't help you resolve your problem, you may be eligible to pursue your claim at the Civil Claims List of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal. To contact any of these organisations, see our Contacts page.
Under Australian consumer law, when you book accommodation you're automatically covered by national 'consumer guarantees'. This means you have some rights if your accommodation doesn't meet these guarantees. For more information about consumer guarantees visit Consumer Affairs Victoria.
Remember that travel plans are often disrupted by unavoidable external factors, such as airline problems or weather delays. Although these can be a hassle, they are beyond the control of any agent.
Disputes with landlords and accommodation providers
If a dispute arises with your landlord or accommodation provider, check the booking terms and conditions, the house rules, and/or your accommodation agreement to determine your rights and responsibilities.
Try to resolve the dispute with your landlord or accommodation provider face-to-face. The best thing you can do is be polite and courteous. Don't lose your temper. Try to negotiate a situation or settlement that works for both of you.
If you've been evicted and feel that you've been treated unfairly, write a letter of complaint to your landlord or accommodation provider. If the dispute remains unresolved, contact Consumer Affairs Victoria on 1300 55 8181 for further advice. If you feel your case is more about discrimination, contact the Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission on 1300 292 153.
If you break or damage something
If you break or damage something in your accommodation during your stay, check the house rules and/or your accommodation agreement to see what you need to do. Always be honest and report any damage or breakages to your landlord or accommodation provider. Even if it's accidental damage, you may still have to forfeit part of your bond or pay for repairs. Ask for copies of quotes to repair any damage you cause.
If you feel that you've been unfairly charged for damage or breakage and have been unsuccessful in negotiating with your landlord or accommodation provider, contact Consumer Affairs Victoria on 1300 55 8181.
If you have no place to stay
Don't head to a schoolies hotspot without organising somewhere to stay in advance. Your chances of finding last minute accommodation in any of the popular coastal areas will be slim (probably none) and you don't want to get stranded without a place to stay. If you decide to celebrate at the last minute, opt to party at home or head to a less popular holiday spot.
Remember, it's illegal (and very dangerous) to sleep in your car or public places. You risk an on-the-spot fine of up to $150 if you do. And the risk to you and your possessions is just not worth it.
If you're evicted from your accommodation (or have a fight with friends and decide to leave), you may find yourself without a roof over your head. If you've exhausted all negotiation options with your landlord (or friends), you'll need to try other options such as finding alternative accommodation or crashing with other friends.
If you can't getting accommodation and have no one to stay with then you may have to face the fact that your schoolies break has been cut short. You can always party back home or find somewhere to stay at a less popular destination further inland.
If the police drop by
Respect your neighbours. If the police do come by because of loud music or noise, take heed and either wind the party down (and definitely turn the music right down) or move it elsewhere. If you feel like listening to loud music, go out to a club or a pub. Be mindful and respectful of those around you that aren't celebrating schoolies and are just trying to get on with their normal lives.
Always be polite and courteous while dealing with the police as this will most likely prevent any further hassles and result in a quick resolution.
Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV)
CAV can help you to make a complaint about a real estate agent if they're treating you unfairly.
youthcentral - Housing & Accommodation - When things go wrong
Outlines of what to do if things go wrong in a shared house and gives advice on how to manage conflict and difficult landlords.