If you are named in a safety notice or intervention order because of family violence, the order might also say you cannot enter a property where you were living. This means you are ‘excluded’ from the property. If you are named on the residential rental agreement at the property, you are an ‘excluded renter’. However, you can still be excluded from the property even if you are not named on the residential rental agreement.
A protected person is a person protected by a family violence safety notice, family violence intervention order, recognised non-local domestic violence order (DVO) or a personal safety intervention order. A protected person who is living in a rental property has certain rights.
On this page:
Changing the locks
A protected person can change the locks of the property where you used to live, even if your name is on the rental agreement. You are not allowed to have a copy of the new key. No one can give you a copy, including the protected person, the rental provider (landlord) or their agent.
Changing or ending a rental agreement
A person who has been or is being subjected to family violence, including a protected person who has a family violence safety notice, family violence intervention order, recognised non-local DVO, or a protected person under a personal safety intervention order may:
- apply to VCAT to change the rental agreement so that you are no longer included in it
- apply to VCAT to end the rental agreement.
A person who has experienced family violence or an otherwise protected person can do this even if they did not sign the original rental agreement, as long as the property is the main place they live.
If VCAT decides to end or change the agreement, they may order you to pay costs such as repairs for damaged property, bond or unpaid rent.
Excluded renters cannot enter the property
If you are excluded from a property, you cannot enter for any reason. This includes public inspections and general inspections.
For example, if there is an open inspection for the property, you cannot attend.
An inspection may be done to check the condition of the property because VCAT has ordered that the rental agreement should change due to family violence. You must not enter the property during this inspection. However, you can nominate someone to represent you at the inspection instead. You must provide their name and contact details before the inspection.
Ending your rental agreement due to hardship
If you are still on the rental agreement but are experiencing hardship, you can apply to VCAT to end the rental agreement. VCAT will consider how your rental provider (landlord) will be affected before they make a decision to end your agreement.
Sections of the Act
If you want to know what the law says about suspended or excluded renters or residents, you can read these sections of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997:
- Section 91U – Reduction or termination of fixed term residential rental agreement because of hardship
- Section 91V – Application for termination or new residential rental agreement because of family violence or personal violence.