Residential tenancies

Before you apply – Residential tenancy

Residential tenancy issues between renters (tenants) and rental providers (landlords), residents and owners of caravan parks or rooming houses, renters and the Director of Housing, and about specialist disability accommodation and supported residential services.

Before you apply

What we can help with

  • Unpaid rent
  • Problems with claiming the bond after a tenancy or residency ends
  • Repairs, maintenance, damages or changes to the property the renter (tenant) wants to make
  • Pets and renting
  • Excessive rent increases
  • Possession orders

What we can't help with

Can’t see what you’re looking for?

Changes to renting laws

On 29 March 2021 renting laws changed, which affect what you can apply for and timeframes. Transitional Regulations have also been introduced that affect some VCAT orders and applications as we transition to the new laws.

Get help and advice before you apply

We can help you understand how to apply. We can’t give you legal advice or tell you what to write in your application. These organisations may be able to help you.

Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV)

Information and advice on renting and accommodation, estate agents, building, shopping and trading.

Tenants Victoria

Advice on renting and your rights. This service is available to tenants of all property types, including caravan parks.

Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV)

Represents real estate professionals in Victoria in city, rural and regional areas.

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Help and support

  • If you’re affected by family violence, we have a family violence support worker who can support you. They will work with you to make sure you are safe at the hearing and have access to justice. 

    You can call the VCAT family violence support worker on 03 9628 9856 during business hours.

    Read more about family violence support at VCAT

  • We offer support to ensure VCAT is culturally safe and inclusive for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

    We can help you with:

    • booking a Koori hearing room
    • organising a Koori Engagement Officer to attend your hearing or mediation with you
    • general information and advice about VCAT processes.

    Call our Koori Helpline to speak to a Koori Engagement Officer on 0417 516 335, Monday to Friday, 8am-5pm.
     
    Read more about Koori support at VCAT

  • VCAT will contact you to let you know the scheduled time for the hearing.

    A phone hearing or videoconference is no different to a hearing in person, so ensure you are in a quiet location and have any relevant paperwork at hand.

    Find out more information about what to expect on your hearing day.

    Make sure you check upcoming hearings to keep up to date with your hearing time. Due to capacity issues, we may not be able to remind you when your upcoming hearing is.

    How to join a phone or video conference

  • You automatically don’t need to pay any fees if you meet certain criteria.

    For everyone else, if you believe paying VCAT fees would cause you financial hardship, you can apply for fee relief at the same time you apply to VCAT.   

    If we agree, this means we may: 

    • waive the fee 
    • reduce the amount you have to pay 
    • postpone the amount you have to pay.

     
    Any individual can apply for fee relief, including people who don’t have a concession card, but you must meet eligibility criteria. We’ll ask you to give us a summary of your personal financial situation to support your application. 
     
    You only need to apply once. Our decision applies to all VCAT fees you’re asked to pay in your case.

    Learn more about fee relief
     

  • For some residential tenancy issues, you must send a notice (eg. notice to vacate) to the renter (tenant) before you can apply to VCAT.

    When you send a notice, there is a minimum time you must wait before you can take further action. This period of time is set by the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 and is called the ‘minimum notice period’.

    Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) explains how much time you must wait before you can take further action. This may be sending a second notice or applying to VCAT.

    Use CAV’s tables to understand the notice periods. Then if you give a notice by mail, add the extra time for delivery.

    Find out more about serving notices from Consumer Affairs Victoria.