Some Victorians may suddenly be unable to make their rent payments. They should notify their landlord or agent as early as possible. If they can agree on a payment plan with their landlord for any rent arrears, they should put the agreement in writing.
Although the Act allows for eviction for non-payment of rent, the Victorian Government encourages landlords and agents to work with tenants facing lost income or employment. Alternative arrangements may allow tenants to stay at the property. For example, they may be permitted to repay rental arrears over a reasonable period of time.
If landlords are considering eviction for other reasons, we encourage them to seek agreement with the tenants to avoid ending the tenancy. See our tips on Resolving renting disputes.
If eviction cannot be avoided, landlords must:
- follow the correct process
- give the appropriate amount of notice.
For forms, instructions and notice periods, see If the landlord or owner wants the tenant to leave.
For an eviction to be enforced, VCAT must issue a possession order. Some in the rental market have asked Consumer Affairs Victoria to intervene. VCAT is an independent tribunal and Consumer Affairs Victoria and government ministers cannot direct VCAT to stop issuing possession orders.
A tenant who receives a notice to vacate based on rent arrears due to financial hardship should immediately contact their landlord to negotiate a payment plan. If the landlord will not agree, the tenant may choose to stay in the property and wait for a VCAT hearing.
The tenant must attend this hearing and plead a case for a payment plan. Otherwise VCAT may give the landlord a possession order. If VCAT believes satisfactory arrangements have been, or can be, made to avoid financial loss to the landlord, it can dismiss or adjourn an application for a possession order.
Even if the tenant has paid all rent owing before the hearing date, the tenant should still attend. Otherwise all the facts may not be covered and the decision could still result in eviction.