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.
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’s pets and renting?For example, you are a rental provider (landlord), and your renter (tenant) has given you notice that they want a pet and you don’t agree.
What is a possession order?
A rental provider (landlord) who has given a renter (tenant) a notice to vacate or who has received a notice of intention to vacate can apply for a possession order to direct the renter to leave.
If the renter doesn’t leave by the date in the order, the rental provider can apply for a warrant of possession.
- Change the rental agreement for someone affected by personal or family violence
- Unreasonable caravan park, rooming house or site rules
- When a renter or rental provider (landlord) doesn’t meet their responsibilities
- Compensation for a resident when a caravan park or site closes
- Restraining order
What’s 'change the rental agreement for someone affected by personal or family violence'?
If you’re affected by family violence you can:
- apply to get out of your rental agreement early
- apply to stay in the property but change the rental agreement to your name by creating a new agreement
- challenge a notice to vacate – if the notice was given because of the actions of another person who subjected (or is subjecting) you to personal or family violence.
What does ‘when a renter or rental provider doesn’t meet their responsibilities’ mean?
If the renter (tenant) or rental provider (landlord) doesn’t meet their legal obligations, the other party can serve them with a ‘breach of duty’ notice.
This is a formal warning to them. If they don’t comply, you can apply to VCAT for a compensation or compliance order.
What’s a restraining order?A restraining order requires someone to do or stop doing something to comply with their legal responsibilities.
What we can't help with
- Issues between neighbours, between co-renters (tenants in the same rental property) or between rental providers (landlords) – get advice from Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria
- Bond refunds where there is no issue – go to Residential Tenancies Bond Authority (RTBA)
- Family Violence or Personal Safety Intervention Orders – contact Victoria Police or your local Magistrates Court
Can’t see what you’re looking for?
- Disputes about retail or commercial leases – see Retail and commercial leases
- Disputes between landlords and estate agents – see Goods and services
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.
Help and support
How do I get family violence 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 email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call the VCAT family violence support worker on 03 9628 9856 during business hours.
How does VCAT support Aboriginal people?
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
How do I calculate rent for a residential tenancy dispute?
For rental disputes, you may need to work out how much rent you owe or are seeking as part of your residential tenancy case.
Check out Consumer Affairs Victoria’s rent calculator to help you with your claim.
What can I do if I can’t pay the fees?
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.
As a rental provider (landlord) when do I have to send a notice to a renter (tenant)?
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.
Can I get compensation from my rental provider (landlord) or renter (tenant)?
If you have a rental property dispute in Victoria, you might be able to seek compensation from your landlord or tenant. The specific circumstances of your situation will determine whether or not you’re eligible to do so.
Check the most common residential tenancy issues to find out what you can seek compensation for before applying.