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Domestic Violence and Residential Tenancies (Qld)

Updated on Oct 20, 2022 4 min read 409 views Copy Link

Fernanda Dahlstrom

Published in Oct 21, 2022 Updated on Oct 20, 2022 4 min read 409 views

Domestic Violence and Residential Tenancies (Qld)

In 2012, the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 was amended to allow people who are victims of domestic violence or family violence to leave a tenancy or to remain in a property safely. This page deals with the protections that now exist for victims of domestic violence who are residential tenants.

What is domestic violence?

Domestic violence is defined in section 8 of the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012.  It includes physical, sexual, emotional and economic abuse as well as threatening and coercive behaviour and behaviour that causes another person to fear for their safety and wellbeing.  It includes behaviour that leads to personal injury and property damage as well as unauthorised surveillance and stalking.

Ending a tenancy because of domestic violence

Under section 308A of the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012, a person may end their interest in a tenancy if they cannot safety remain in the property because of domestic violence.

A person who wants to end a tenancy because of domestic violence should complete a Form R20 Notice ending residency interest (domestic and family violence). This Form should be supported with evidence of domestic violence such as a protection order, a police protection notice, an interstate order or a family law injunction.

The owner or agent who receives a Notice may accept it and inform the remaining tenants that the vacating resident’s tenancy has ended or apply to QCAT for the Notice to be set aside. This must be done within seven days of receiving the Notice.

A tenant who is vacating a property due to domestic violence must give seven days notice to the owner or agent. They may leave the property earlier than this, but rent must be paid until the end of the notice period.

Payment of bonds

A person can apply to have their part of a bond refunded if they are leaving a tenancy because of domestic violence. If a bond is refunded to a vacating tenant, the remaining tenants must top up the bond to cover the shortfall.

Confidentiality

When a person ends a tenancy due to domestic violence, the lessor and agent must keep the evidence provided in support of the Notice confidential. The penalty for failing to do so is a fine of up to 100 penalty units (section 308I domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012).

What if another tenant leaves because of domestic violence?

If you are a tenant in a residential property and another tenant vacates the property due to domestic violence, you will receive a continuing interest notice.

A person who received a continuing interest notice needs to be aware of the following:

  • Your lease agreement continues on the same terms for you and any other remaining tenants
  • If the rental bond now falls short of the amount required, you and the remaining tenants must top it up within a month of the Continuing interest notice.

Remaining in a property after domestic violence

If you are a residential tenant and you have experienced domestic violence but want to remain in the property, you can apply to QCAT to be made the tenant under the lease instead of the perpetrator of domestic violence. You must advise your property manager or landlord that you are making this application as they may wish to attend and be heard at the tribunal hearing.

If you are remaining in a property after domestic violence, you are allowed to have the locks in the property changed (section 210, Residential Tenancies and Room Accommodation Act 2008). You must use a qualified locksmith to do this, but you do not need permission from the landlord or agent. You must provide the landlord or agent with a copy of the new key unless they agree this is not necessary. You must comply with any body corporate laws concerning the changing of locks. 

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Go To Court Lawyers.

Published in

Oct 21, 2022

Fernanda Dahlstrom

Content Editor

Fernanda Dahlstrom has a Bachelor of Laws from Latrobe University, a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the College of Law, a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Melbourne and a Master of Arts (Writing and Literature) from Deakin University. Fernanda practised law for eight years, working in criminal defence, child protection and domestic violence law in the Northern Territory. She also practised in family law after moving to Brisbane in 2016.
Fernanda Dahlstrom

Fernanda Dahlstrom

Content Editor

Fernanda Dahlstrom has a Bachelor of Laws from Latrobe University, a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the College of Law, a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Melbourne and a Master of Arts (Writing and Literature) from Deakin University. Fernanda practised law for eight years, working in criminal defence, child protection and domestic violence law in the Northern Territory. She also practised in family law after moving to Brisbane in 2016.

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