If a caravan park resident, site tenant or their visitor is acting violently or putting someone in serious danger and the caravan park or site owner wants them to leave, the owner has two options.
- They can give the resident or site tenant a notice to leave. This notice can be used in cases where the danger is so serious that the park operator needs the resident or their visitor to leave straight away. The person who is given the notice to leave must leave immediately and not return for at least 2 business days. A notice to leave ‘suspends’ the residential agreement. While the agreement is suspended, the operator can apply to VCAT for an eviction order. If the park operator applies to VCAT, the resident must not return until after VCAT hears and decides the application.
- They can give the resident or site tenant a notice to vacate. There is no minimum notice required if the notice is given because the resident has put people or property in danger. The resident can apply to VCAT if they think the notice is unfair. If the resident does not leave after being given the notice, and they have not applied to VCAT, the operator can apply to VCAT for an eviction order.
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Notice to leave because of violent or dangerous behaviour
A notice to leave is an order to a resident, site tenant or their visitor to leave the park immediately. The person who received the notice to leave must stay away for at least 2 business days.
It can only be given to someone who has been violent or endangered the safety of someone else in the park. It can also be given to the resident for a visitor’s violence or dangerous behaviour if the resident caused, encouraged, or allowed the visitor’s behaviour.
The person given the notice to leave may be fined if they:
- do not leave immediately
- return to the property before they are allowed to.
When a resident is given a notice to leave, their park agreement or site agreement is suspended. The resident must continue paying rent and any other charges while they are suspended.
If the operator applies to VCAT to permanently evict the resident by filing for a possession order during the 2 days after the notice to leave was given, the resident must not return to the park until after the VCAT hearing. They can only return after the hearing if VCAT says they can move back in.
A caravan park operator cannot give a resident or site tenant a notice to leave if they have given them a notice to vacate for the same reason.
It is an offence to give someone a notice to leave without having good reason to believe that they were seriously violent or put someone in the park in danger.
Caravan park operators and site owners should use one of these form to give a notice to leave:
Notices to leave and family violence
A resident cannot be given a notice to leave because a visitor commits family violence against them.
Evicting a resident after a notice to leave
If the park operator wants to have the resident or tenant evicted after giving them a notice to leave, they must apply to VCAT within 2 business days of giving them the notice. The resident’s agreement will be suspended and they will not be able to return until VCAT makes a decision. VCAT must hold the hearing urgently, and within 2 business days of the park operator making the application.
The resident has the right to attend the VCAT hearing and tell their side of the story.
If you are a resident who has been suspended, you should contact VCAT within 2 business days to find out if the park operator has applied for a hearing. You should also contact VCAT after the end of the 2 days. It is important to keep your contact details up to date with VCAT so you can be told the date and time of the hearing.
If VCAT decides the notice to leave was not appropriate, the resident must be allowed back into the park. VCAT may order the park operator to refund any rent or other charges the resident or site tenant paid for the days they were suspended.
If VCAT finds the notice to leave was not appropriate, they may decide:
- the resident or site tenant is no longer suspended and they can move back in
- the resident or site tenant does not have to pay rent for the time they were suspended
- the park operator must pay compensation to the resident.
Collecting personal belongings after suspension or eviction
Where a resident or site tenant has been suspended or evicted for violent or dangerous behaviour, and cannot return to the park, they can nominate someone to collect their personal belongings. They should make arrangements with the operator or manager for this to happen.
Notice to vacate because of violent or dangerous behaviour
A park operator can ask a resident or site tenant to leave without any notice period by giving them a notice to vacate if the resident or their visitor:
- puts people or property in the caravan or residential park in danger
- seriously disrupts the peace and quiet of other residents
- intentionally or recklessly causes damage to the caravan, site or park.
If the park resident causes damage to the caravan, the caravan owner also has the right to give the resident a notice to vacate.
A park operator can also give a resident a notice to vacate for seriously threatening or intimidating the operator or owner, their agent, or the operator or agent’s employees or contractors. This requires 14 days’ notice.
Park operators should use one of these forms to give a notice to vacate:
A park resident or site tenant can challenge a notice to vacate. If the resident does not leave after being given the notice, and they have not applied to VCAT, the park operator can apply to VCAT for an eviction order.
Read more about notices to vacate in a caravan park and notices to vacate to a site tenant.
Forms you might need
To give a resident or site tenant notice to leave or notice to vacate, use one of these forms:
Sections of the Act
If you want to know what the law says about notices to leave and immediate notice for violent or dangerous behaviour, you can read these sections of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997:
- Part 8 – Violence on certain premises