Quick Exit

Home of Your Own

A self help tool for renters affected by family violence

Changing a lease

Removing someone from a rental agreement by applying to VCAT, ending the rental agreement and creating a new one in your name. 

Can I remove someone who has used violence against me from the rental agreement? 

If you are a co-renter on a rental agreement with a person who has used violence against you, you have two options for removing them from the rental agreement: 

  1. If the co-renter and rental provider agree, you can transfer the rental agreement into your name only.  
  2. You can apply to VCAT for an order ending the current rental agreement and creating a new one in your name. You can do this even if your co-renter does not agree.  

    How do I create a new rental agreement in my name? 

    If someone on the rental agreement has used violence against you, you can apply to VCAT to make an order terminating the current rental agreement and creating a new one that is: 

    • just in your name; or 
    • in your name and any other person’s name if you want to add someone else. 

    Once the application is made, VCAT must list it for hearing within three days. Because the hearing will be scheduled quickly, it is recommended to seek legal help before you make the application.

    You may be able to have a new rental agreement created in your name if: 

    1. The rental property is your primary place of residence (your home), even if you’re not on the lease; and 
    2. You have been subjected to violence by someone who is on the rental agreement. 

      What evidence do I need to apply to VCAT? 

      If the co-renter who has used violence against you is a family member or intimate partner, evidence of the violence that has occurred will be needed for your application. For example, an intervention order, a letter from a family violence worker, a written statement from someone else, or a report from the police. 

      You will also need to show that you can meet your obligations under the rental agreement. This means that you will need to be able to show you can afford the rent. 

      You will also need to show evidence of the hardship you would face if the rental agreement were not terminated and a new agreement were not made in your name. If you have children living with you, you should also provide evidence of the hardship that they would face if the rental agreement were not terminated and a new agreement were not made in your name.

      You should give VCAT any evidence you have which shows the property is your home. This might include: 

      • utilities statements for the property in your name like the internet or gas bill; 
      • bills like your mobile phone in your name with the property listed as your address; 
      • records from your doctor or other service with the property listed as your address; 
      • Centrelink statements with the property listed as your address; 
      • any communications about the property with the real estate agent. 

      What will happen once I apply to VCAT? 

      Your application will usually be listed for a hearing within three days. You will receive a notice in the mail or by email which will show you the date, time and location of the hearing. If you misplaced the notice, you can call VCAT on 1300 018 228 to check the details.

      VCAT will ask to hear from you first, and then will hear from your rental provider. They may also hear from the person on the rental agreement.  VCAT will consider all the evidence then make a decision about whether to make an order creating a new rental agreement. 

      It is important that you go to your hearing because VCAT can make a decision even if you are not there.   

      If you have good reason for not being able to go to your hearing, you can ask for an adjournment (a change to the date of the hearing). Read more about the rules and timeframes when asking VCAT for an adjournment.  

      If you miss the hearing and had a reasonable excuse for not attending, you may be able to apply for a review hearing.  

      There are dedicated family violence support workers at VCAT who can help to keep you safe during a VCAT hearing. 

      They can help to:  

      • arrange for you to attend the hearing by phone, or from another safe place  
      • fill out paperwork or prepare for a hearing  
      • support you at a hearing.  

        Read more about VCAT family violence support. 

      VCAT may share evidence with all the parties in a matter. If you are worried that sharing evidence of family violence may put your safety at risk, you can ask VCAT for a hearing to decide how the evidence is used and who it is shared with. 

      This will usually happen before the main hearing and is called a directions hearing. You should seek the support of VCAT’s family violence workers if you are worried about your safety.  

      What if there are unresolved costs at the property? 

      If VCAT makes an order terminating the agreement and creating a new one, it can also make orders about: 

      • what should happen with the bond; 
      • who is responsible for any unpaid rent or damage;  
      • who is responsible for any outstanding utilities costs.  

      This is because it allows to you resolve these matters earlier, otherwise, you would have to wait until any VCAT hearing about your bond and at that hearing, VCAT cannot make orders about outstanding utilities. 

      violence worker from a family violence service may be able to help you to document evidence for your application and support you with the things you need. 

      Getting help from a lawyer will help you to prepare for a VCAT application. 

      See our list of services, for free legal, family violence and housing support. 
      Once you are ready to make your VCAT application, you can request support from a VCAT family violence worker, they can help you stay safe while making your application and attending a hearing. 

      This page contains legal information only. View our disclaimer

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