Violent or dangerous behaviour in a rooming house – immediate notice

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If a rooming house resident or their visitor is acting violently or putting someone in serious danger and the rooming house operator wants them to leave, the operator has two options.

  • They can give the resident a notice to leave. This notice can be used in cases where the danger is so serious that the rooming house 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 operator applies to VCAT, the resident must not return until after VCAT hears and decides the application.
  • They can give the resident 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 or their visitor to leave the rooming house 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 rooming house. 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 rooming house 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 property until after the VCAT hearing. They can only return after the hearing if VCAT says they can move back in.

A rooming house operator cannot give a resident a notice to leave if they have given them a notice to vacate in relation to the same behaviour.

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 rooming house in danger.

Rooming house operators should use this form to give a notice to leave:

Notice 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 rooming house operator wants to have the resident 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 rooming house 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 rooming house 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 finds the notice to leave was not appropriate, they may decide:

  • the resident is no longer suspended and they can move back in
  • the resident does not have to pay rent for the time they were suspended
  • the rooming house operator must pay compensation to the resident.

Collecting personal belongings after suspension or eviction

Where a resident has been suspended or evicted for violent or dangerous behaviour, and cannot return to the rooming house, 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 rooming house operator can ask a resident 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 rooming house in danger
  • seriously disrupts the peace and quiet of other residents
  • intentionally or recklessly causes damage to the rooming house.

A rooming house operator can also give a resident a notice to vacate for seriously threatening or intimidating the rooming house operator, their agent, or the operator or agent’s employees or contractors. This requires 14 days’ notice.

Rooming house operators should use this form to give a notice to vacate:

A rooming house resident 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 operator can apply to VCAT for an eviction order.

Read more about notices to vacate in a rooming house.

What is a rooming house?

A rooming house is a building where 4 or more people can live in rented rooms, some of which might be shared.

The rooming house is managed by a rooming house operator and individual residents usually have separate agreements with the operator.

The operator can decide who can live in the property without consulting the residents.

In most rooming houses, residents share bathrooms, kitchens, laundries and other common areas. The rooming house operator and their family do not usually live in the property.

It is different to a share house, where everyone signs the same agreement.

Forms you might need

To give a resident notice to leave or notice to vacate, use one of these forms:

Renting law reforms

Victoria made significant changes to renting laws in 2021.

Some of the major changes to laws about immediate notice for violent or dangerous behaviour in a rooming house include:

  • a resident can be asked to leave if they endanger the safety of the rooming house operator, their agent, or their contractor or employee
  • a rooming house operator can now give a resident a notice to vacate for threats and intimidation
  • a rooming house operator can now give a resident notice to leave for causing, encouraging or permitting an act by the resident’s behaviour.

You can read about these and other changes in a summary of the reforms or in detailed fact sheets and guides.

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