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Home of Your Own

A self help tool for renters affected by family violence

Getting your belongings back

Accessing your belongings safely after leaving a rental, including when you have been evicted .

How do I safely collect my belongings if the person using violence is still in the property?   

If you have an intervention order (IVO) or are applying for an IVO, you can ask for a condition which allows you to collect your belongings from your home. You can also request access on a particular date and time when the person using violence will not be there.

Read more about family violence intervention orders. 

If you have applied to VCAT to end your rental agreement, you can ask VCAT for orders to be made allowing you to access the property without the person using violence being there, to collect your belongings.  

If you do not have an IVO or have not applied to VCAT it can be more complicated. You can talk to a support worker from a family violence service about safely collecting your belongings. You can also get free legal help to better understand your options.  

See our list of services, for free legal, family violence and housing support. 
 

Can I get my belongings back if I was evicted?   

Your rental provider can immediately remove or destroy perishable foods, dangerous items, or any belongings that are not worth any money (i.e. items with little to no resale or practical value, including damaged goods). 

The rental provider must also keep items if they are: 

  • labelled containers or labelled urns containing human remains, 
  • specialised medical devices, equipment and goods including prostheses and prescription medication; and 
  • medals and trophies. 

If you leave belongings which can't be immediately disposed of, the rental provider should let you know you have belongings left behind. They must store your belongings for at least 14 days, and store any personal documents (i.e. official documents, photographs, correspondence or any other document a person would want to reasonably keep) for 90 days. The time period that the rental provider is required to keep the goods, starts from when the rental provider first tells the renter about the goods. 

You can contact your rental provider or agent and organise a time to collect your belongings. Your rental provider cannot refuse to return your belongings even if you owe rent or they have obtained a possession order.  

Will I be charged a fee for leaving any belongings in the property?  

Your rental provider might ask you to pay an ‘occupation fee’ to cover the costs of any reasonable expense they paid to move and store your belongings. For example, you will only have to pay if you left many of your belongings behind, or they were so big, that the rental provider couldn’t re-let the property.  

Your rental provider cannot charge more than 14 days’ rent for an occupation fee, particularly if you cannot access your belongings within 14 days.  

If VCAT makes orders ending your rental agreement, you can also ask for orders enabling you to collect your belongings. These orders might say that: 

  • the rental provider must give you access to the property to collect your belongings, or 
  • that a co-renter who has used violence against you must be absent from the property at a certain time for you to collect your belongings. 

If you have an intervention order (IVO) or are applying for an IVO, you can ask for a condition that allows you to collect your belongings from a home you have left. You can also request access on a particular date and time when the person using violence will not be there.   

Read more about family violence intervention orders. 

If you do not have an IVO it can be more complicated. You should talk to a support worker from a family violence service about safely collecting your belongings. You can also get free legal help to better understand your options for safely accessing your belongings. 

See our list of services, for free legal, family violence and housing support. 

You can speak to a family violence service who may be able to help you safely access your belongings or access new household items if your belongings were damaged or lost due to family violence.  

You can also get free legal help to better understand your options. 

See our list of services, for free legal, family violence and housing support. 

This page contains legal information only. View our disclaimer

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