If the affected person has an intervention order that excludes the perpetrator from the rental address, you can use: Application by a Protected Person [VCAT website]. This form is also available from the VCAT office.
In this form, the affected person is called the protected person, and the perpetrator is called excluded tenant.
Filling in the application form
In the first few sections of the application form you need to include names and contact details of all current tenants (including the perpetrator), anyone who wants to become a tenant and the landlord. If any of these people has someone else representing them, you also need to include those names and contact details on the form.
If you don’t want the perpetrator to find out the affected person’s address and contact details, write “confidential” on the form and attach a separate sheet with these details for VCAT.
Excluded tenant details
- Landlord’s representative: This could be a real estate agent or lawyer.
- Tenant’s representative: This could be a lawyer, social worker, family member or friend.
This is where you write the rented address. In this section you also tell VCAT if children live there, if there is any damage to the property and if the excluded tenant is appealing the decision to exclude them from the rented address.
Previous VCAT applications
If there were any previous VCAT applications between the landlord and the tenants, you must include the VCAT file numbers. You can find the file numbers on the the notice of hearing or the orders made by VCAT. Or you can contact VCAT.
- Include names of the tenants who paid the bond, the amounts they paid and the bond number from the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority (RTBA).
- If the affected person doesn’t have a copy of the bond receipt, they can call the RTBA on 1300 137 164 and ask for the bond number. The bond number can be used on the RTBA website (rentalbonds.vic.gov.au) to get written confirmation of the bond details, which should be attached to the VCAT application.
Claim details: What do you want VCAT to do?
See some examples:
- Applying for a new lease – so the affected person can stay
- Applying to reduce a fixed-term lease – so the affected person can leave early
- Applying to remove a name from a periodic [month-to-month] lease
- Applying for a decision about damages caused by the perpetrator
- Interpreter: The affected person can request an interpreter for the hearing on the application form.
- Special assistance: The affected person can also ask for other special assistance on the form.
- The affected person can ask VCAT to use the remote witness room for the hearing so they don’t have to be in the same room as the perpetrator. However the remote witness room is only available if the hearing is held in Melbourne at 55 King Street.
- If the affected person is not able to attend a hearing in Melbourne, they could request to give evidence by telephone. You need to complete a telephone attendance request [VCAT website].
- Security: If you think security is needed contact VCAT after you submit the form.
Service of application
- A copy of the application will need to be “served” (sent by mail or handed personally) to all tenants (including the perpetrator), the landlord and anyone who wants to be added to the lease. In this section you must write when and how these copies were served.
- We recommend you send all copies by registered post so that you can prove “service” by showing VCAT the receipt.
- If affected person does not know the perpetrator’s current address, they could serve the application by as many methods as possible: to an address or email address for the perpetrator in the intervention order, to an address of a family member or close friend that the perpetrator is likely to be in contact with. You can even send a text message to notify the perpetrator that the application has been sent to that address. The affected person will need to ask VCAT for an order that they can serve the application this way (order for substituted service) when they get to the hearing.
- Fee waiver: The affected person can request a fee waiver due to financial hardship or if they have a concession card. They need to fill in and attach the fee relief form [VCAT website].
- VCAT application fee: Otherwise, the affected person must pay the VCAT fee, which from 1 July 2018 is $63.70.
Documents to support the application
The affected person should attach evidence to support their case, such as:
- copy of the lease (or other proof that they are renting the property such as a rent certificate from Centrelink or rent receipts)
- copy of the current intervention order
- proof of connection to the local area (such as copies of letters from support services) if they want a lease to be created in their name
- proof of ability to meet the obligations of the lease (such as ability to pay, rental history)
- proof of costs that they want VCAT to order the perpetrator pay for and the reason that they should pay. For example, a copy of a utility bill, police report or photo in relation to damage that the perpetrator caused.
Preparing for the VCAT hearing
- You should contact VCAT to confirm arrangements for the remote witness room or telephone attendance. You should ask to speak to VCAT’s family violence support worker.
- Discuss with the affected person how they will get to and leave VCAT. You may want to discuss this with the VCAT support worker to make arrangements with VCAT security.
- You should contact the real estate agent or the landlord and any other tenants to ask whether they consent to the application before you apply.
- You should ask the real estate agent or landlord, and the other tenants, for copies of any documents that they plan to use at the hearing. If they won’t give you a copy of these documents, you could warn them that this could cause an adjournment, which will just delay the process and require everyone to come back another time.
- You should give a copy of any documents that you intend to use at the hearing to all other parties (landlord or their agent and other tenants).You should also have proof that you have served the application and documents to them. Registered post is the easiest way to prove service.
- If sending things by mail make sure you add enough time for the mail to be delivered. See delivery times [Australia Post website].
If VCAT list a hearing at a time that the affected person can’t attend, they can request to adjourn (postpone) the hearing. However, they need to have a good reason for not being able to attend (such as being in hospital).
- It’s best to ask the other parties to agree to adjourn before you put in a request to VCAT. You can use the VCAT form to get their consent in writing: Request for Consent to an Adjournment. And you can still apply for adjournment even if the others don’t consent.
- To request an adjournment you need to do it in writing. It’s best to use the VCAT form: Application for an Adjournment
- You need to provide VCAT with proof of the reason that the affected person can’t attend.
- The request needs to be provided to VCAT by 4:00 pm at least two business days before the hearing.
- You need to send a copy of your adjournment request to all other parties to the VCAT application. However, if some details are confidential or not safe to disclose, you don’t have to give these details to anyone except VCAT. You can attach a separate sheet for VCAT only.
What happens at the VCAT hearing
Remote witness room
- If the affected person is using the remote witness room, they will be able to see what is going on in the hearing room by video. The people in the hearing room will be able to see the affected person on video as well. The affected person could ask to have a support person with them in the remote witness room. VCAT also have a support worker who is likely to be with the affected person while they use the remote witness room.
Making an oath
- VCAT will ask all parties to give an oath or affirmation to VCAT, which is a promise to tell the truth.
Copies of the application
- The VCAT member is likely to ask how the application was served on the other parties, particularly if one of them has not attended or says that they didn’t receive a copy of the application. This is very important as VCAT could adjourn (postpone) the hearing and tell you that you have to serve it again if they don’t think that it was served properly in the first place.
Your turn to speak
- The VCAT member will hear from all the parties about whether to make the orders that the affected person has asked for in their application.
- The perpetrator can’t ask the affected person questions in the hearing, unless VCAT allows it. And even if VCAT allows them to ask questions, there might be restrictions on what they can ask.
- The VCAT member will usually make a decision (an order) in relation to the application on the day. The VCAT member will make an order verbally and then prepare a written order to provide to all the parties. Usually this will be available on the day of the hearing.
- If the affected person wants to ask for written reasons for the VCAT decision they must do so at the time of the VCAT hearing (not later).
This information is a guide only and should not be used as a substitute for professional legal advice.
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