What are rent arrears?
If a tenant or resident does not pay their rent by the due date, they are considered to be ‘in arrears’.
If tenants become 14 days or more in arrears, or rooming house or caravan park residents seven days or more, they can be issued with the following notices:
Any notice to vacate (end the tenancy and leave the property) must be given by hand, by registered post, or by electronic communication (such as email). Electronic communication can only be used if the tenant or resident has given their consent to receive notices and other documents this way.
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.
Rent arrears under a site agreement
If a site tenant is not paying rent, they can be issued with a breach of duty notice, giving them 14 days to remedy the breach by paying the rent.
If the breach is not remedied in the required time, the site tenant can be served with a second breach of duty notice, requiring that the second notice be complied with by remedying the breach within another 14 days.
If the second breach notice is not complied with within those 14 days, the site owner may serve the site tenant with a notice to vacate; the end date on the notice must be at least 14 days after the date on which it is given.
When a notice to vacate is issued
A landlord, rooming house owner, caravan park owner or site owner should try to reach a solution with the tenant or resident before issuing notice to vacate.
If a notice to vacate is issued, the tenant or resident can challenge it by taking the matter to VCAT.
A landlord, rooming house owner, site owner or caravan park owner cannot personally evict a tenant or resident, physically or otherwise. For more information, view Ending a lease or residency.
Late or part-payment
If a tenant is not paying all or part of the rent as agreed in the lease, the landlord or agent may wish to discuss the reason why this is happening with the tenant. For example, it may be that the tenant is temporarily encountering financial problems, or that the frequency at which they are paid does not match up with the date the rent falls due.
If the issue cannot be resolved through informal discussion, the landlord can apply to VCAT for an amount of compensation including any unpaid rent. If VCAT makes a compensation order and the tenant does not comply with it, the landlord can ask them to leave the property within 14 days by giving them a Notice to vacate to tenant/s of rented premises (Word, 760KB).