Changing the locks because of family violence

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There are rules about changing the locks in a residential property because of family violence.

  • If you have a safety notice or intervention order protecting you from another renter, you can change the locks without permission from your rental provider (landlord) or agent.
  • If you do not have a safety notice or intervention order, you must ask for your rental provider or agent’s permission before you change the locks.

These rules do not apply to people living in caravan parks or rooming houses.

You can read more information about family violence when renting.

On this page:

If you have a safety notice or intervention order

If you are experiencing family violence and you have a safety notice or intervention order, you can change the locks. You do not need permission from your rental provider (landlord) or agent.

You do not have to give a key to the person named on the safety notice or intervention order, known as the excluded renter.

Once you change the locks, you must:

  • Give a key to any new lock to the rental provider or agent and other renters (apart from the excluded renter).
  • Give a copy of any safety notice or intervention order (or a certified extract) to your rental provider or real estate agent. Once they have a copy, they cannot give the excluded renter a key for any new lock.

The rental provider or agent must keep your information private.

If you do not have a safety notice or intervention order

If you do not have a safety notice or intervention order, you must get permission from your rental provider (landlord) before you change the locks. If they do not give you permission to change the locks, you can apply to VCAT to make a decision.

Once you change the locks, you must give keys for the new locks to your rental provider or agent and other renters.

If the person using violence lives with you and you do not have a safety notice or intervention order, you cannot refuse to give them a key to the new lock.

Read more about the rules on locks and security or about installing security features because of family violence.

Getting help

If you are in immediate danger, contact Victoria Police on 000.

There are other services available if someone is being violent towards you.

Contact Consumer Affairs Victoria

If you’re experiencing family violence and need help with renting, contact us.

You can call Consumer Affairs Victoria on 1300 55 81 81 (9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday).

Calling us costs the same as a local call. Additional charges may apply if you are calling from overseas, on a mobile or payphone. You can also contact us through our online enquiry form.

Your information will stay confidential.

We may refer you to a community agency for help with a renting issue, through our Tenancy Assistance and Advocacy Program. We will ask you for permission first.

Information for property managers

If you are a rental provider, rooming house operator or property manager, read:

Sections of the Act

If you want to know what the law says about changing the locks because of family violence, you can read these sections of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997:

  • Section 70A – Locks for rented premises the subject of an intervention order
  • Section 71 – Application to Tribunal to change locks without consent