Sometimes the best or only option for an affected person is to stay in their current rental housing, even if the perpetrator knows their address. This is often the case in regional areas and in public and community housing.
Paying the rent and bills
If the affected person has been sharing the payments for rent and bills with the perpetrator it could be too expensive for them to cover the whole lot on their own. There might be someone else who can move in to share the expenses. Or there might be some family or friends who can help them with a loan. They can also call up the gas, electricity, water, telephone and internet providers to work out a payment plan due to financial hardship.
Changing the lease when you want to stay
If the affected person’s name is on the lease and perpetrator’s name is not on the lease, then the lease does not need to be changed.
If perpetrator’s name is on the lease, the affected person has two options:
a. They can ask the perpetrator to transfer (assign) the lease into their name. Often this is a difficult option because it requires consent from the perpetrator and the landlord. But sometimes it can be as simple as changing the names on the current lease with the changes signed by the tenants and the landlord. To find out more see: Assignment and sub-letting [Tenants Victoria website].
b. Or they can apply to VCAT to end the current lease and start a new lease with their name on it. This could be an easier option because the perpetrator does not need to agree. But it could take longer. See Applying to VCAT and an example application to start a new lease.
What you need
These are the things you need before you apply to VCAT for a new lease (tenancy agreement):
- final intervention order with an exclusion condition that excludes the perpetrator from the rental property;
- perpetrator must be a tenant (their name must be on the current lease);
- affected person must be either a tenant (with their name on the current lease) or living in the rented premises as their main or only home;
- the affected person must be able to afford the tenancy.
Who owes what when the lease changes?
If the affected person applies for a new lease, and there is any unpaid rent, unpaid bills or damage to the rental property, they can ask VCAT to decide who has to pay for what. Usually, it is the joint responsibility of all tenants, but VCAT can decide whether the affected person, perpetrator or any other tenant is liable together, or separately. VCAT can also make orders about the bond.
Inspection for damages
If you ask VCAT to decide who pays, they may adjourn (postpone) the hearing for an inspection of the rental property. This usually happens so that the landlord can check for any damage.
If the perpetrator is excluded from the rental property by an intervention order, they must not attend the inspection. However, they can arrange for a representative to attend. They must give the name of the representative to the landlord or real estate agent.
Compensation and lease-break costs
New tenancy agreements
Applications: Section 233A, Residential Tenancies Act 1997 [AustLII website]
VCAT orders: Section 233B, Residential Tenancies Act 1997 [AustLII website]
Liabilities: Section 233C, Residential Tenancies Act 1997 [AustLII website]
Cross-examinations: Section 233D, Residential Tenancies Act 1997 [AustLII website]
This information is a guide only and should not be used as a substitute for professional legal advice.
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