Changing the rental agreement in violent situations

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Violent situations in tenancies

Changing the lease

A protected person is someone who is protected by any of the following:

  • Family violence safety notice (issued by the police)
  • Family violence intervention order (issued by a court)
  • Personal safety intervention order (issued by a court).

A respondent is someone with one of the above notice or orders issued against them. In the case of a tenancy, the respondent is referred to as the 'excluded tenant' if the notice or order says they cannot enter the home.

If you are a tenant experiencing family violence in a tenancy, and one of the above notice or orders are in place, you can apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to change your tenancy arrangement.

A protected person can apply to VCAT:

  • for a new tenancy agreement, even if they are not named on the existing lease
  • to end the lease early on hardship grounds to ensure their safety or the safety of their children.

A protected person is entitled to have their VCAT fees waived. To arrange this, they must complete VCAT's fee relief application form. Visit the Fee relief page on the VCAT website.

If VCAT decides in favour of a new tenancy agreement:

  • the landlord can ask for a new Condition Report
  • the landlord can organise an inspection of the property by giving the protected person the proper notice, and the excluded tenant is allowed to have a representative present during the inspection.

For more information, view our Family violence page.

Violent situations in managed premises, rooming houses, caravan parks and sites under site agreements

If a resident, site tenant or visitor acts violently or puts anyone in danger, the rooming house, caravan park or site owner can evict them by issuing a:

Suspended residency

Issuing a 'Notice to leave to resident/s of managed premises or resident's visitor' form suspends the residency and the resident and/or visitor must leave the premises immediately. They are not allowed to return for two business days, or until the matter is heard at VCAT if the owner has applied for possession.

The person given the notice to leave may be fined if they:

  • do not leave the premises immediately
  • return to the premises during the suspension period.

Note: A rooming house is a building where one or more rooms are available to rent, and four or more people in total can occupy those rooms.

Paying rent while suspended

The resident must continue to pay rent and any other charges while they are suspended.

If VCAT decides the resident should not have been suspended, the resident must be allowed back into the premises. VCAT may order the owner or landlord to refund any rent or other charges the resident paid for the days they were suspended.

During a suspension

The owner or landlord may apply to VCAT to have the resident evicted during a suspension. The owner must apply to VCAT within two business days after the suspension of the tenancy, residency or site agreement. The resident remains suspended until VCAT hears the matter.

The resident has the right to attend the VCAT hearing and tell their side of the story. It is important for residents to keep in contact with VCAT so they can be told the date and time of the hearing.

If the owner does not apply to VCAT to have the resident permanently evicted, the resident can return to the premises after two business days.

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