The Eviction process for Non-Payment of Rent in Victoria
Eviction process Victoria
As an investment property owner in Victoria, it is essential to be familiar with the eviction process when tenants fail to pay their rent. Evicting a tenant for non-payment of rent requires following specific procedures outlined by the state’s laws and regulations. In this article, we will outline the process of evicting a tenant for unpaid rent, providing a step-by-step guide to help property owners navigate these situations effectively.
Notice to Vacate – Eviction Process
When a tenant is behind on their rent, the first step is to issue a “Notice to Vacate” as per the Residential Tenancies Act 1997. This notice informs the tenant that they have a specified period to either pay the overdue rent or vacate the property. In Victoria, the notice period is 14 days. To be clear, this does not mean that the full rental amount must be paid on it’s due date – but there needs to be 14 days of actual unpaid rent.
Proper Notice Requirements
It is crucial to ensure that the Notice to Vacate complies with the legal requirements. The notice must be in writing on a prescribed form and clearly state the amount of rent owed, the reason for the notice, and the date by which the tenant must pay the overdue amount or vacate the property. You must also state the delivery method in the notice, whether it be via email, registered post or hand-delivered to the tenant to ensure proper documentation.
Timeframe for Tenant’s Response
Once the Notice to Vacate is served, the tenant has a specified timeframe to respond. If the tenant pays the overdue rent within the notice period, the tenancy can continue. However, if the tenant fails to pay or does not vacate the property within the specified timeframe, further action can be taken.
Applying to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT)
If the tenant does not comply with the Notice to Vacate, the next step is to apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT). The application should include details of the tenancy, the amount owed, and any evidence supporting the claim. VCAT will review the case and schedule a hearing.
During the VCAT hearing, both the property owner or their agent and the tenant have the opportunity to present their cases. It is essential to provide all relevant evidence, such as rental records, bank statements, and correspondence related to the unpaid rent. VCAT will make a decision based on the evidence presented and the applicable laws. Ensure you provide evidence on when and how the Notice to Vacate was served, rental ledgers, copies of the lease and any other documents which you will need to refer to while presenting your case.
If VCAT rules in favor of the property owner, it may issue a “Possession Order,” which gives the tenant a specific timeframe to vacate the property. The timeframe provided will depend on the circumstances of the case, but it is typically within 14 days.
Warrant of Possession – Eviction Process
If the tenant still does not vacate the property within the specified timeframe, the property owner can apply for a “Warrant of Possession” from VCAT. This warrant authorises the police or sheriff to physically remove the tenant from the premises. Make sure that you follow up with the relevant department who will be executing the warrant to schedule a date and time for the warrant to be executed. It’s also a good idea to line up the execution of the warrant with a locksmith so that you can access the property and change the locks.
Although the aim is never to get to the point of having to evict a tenant, sometimes this is a the last resort. When you have to go through this process, it’s important that the process is followed as outlined by the Residential Tenancies Act. It’s crucial to issue a proper Notice to Vacate, apply to VCAT, and provide evidence to support the claim.
By understanding the legal process and seeking appropriate assistance when needed, property owners can navigate the eviction process effectively and protect their investment. It is advisable to consult with legal professionals or our experienced team for guidance and to ensure compliance with the relevant laws and state regulations.
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