- Victims of domestic violence often need to flee their rental properties quickly in order to keep themselves & their children safe.
- Under the current tenancy laws, victims need a final apprehended violence order with an exclusion order to leave without penalty. This can take up to 12 months to obtain.
- The proposed reforms to the Residential Tenancies Act 2010, expected to be introduced in 2017, will make it easier for victims to end their tenancies immediately without liability.
Domestic violence (‘DV‘) is one of the leading causes of women’s and children’s homelessness. Victims often need to flee their homes quickly in order to keep themselves and their children safe. However, if victims simply abandon their rental property, they can accrue a debt as a result of outstanding rent and damage done to the property and be blacklisted on a residential tenancy database, making it very difficult for them to rent in the future.
There are currently two main avenues open to DV victims living in a residential tenancy:
- The Residential Tenancies Act 2010 (NSW) (‘the Act’) gives victims of domestic violence the right to end their fixed term tenancy without liability where they have a final apprehended violence order (‘AVO’) which excludes the perpetrator from the rental property, provided they give their landlord and any other co-tenants 14 days written notice; and
- The NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (‘NCAT’) is also empowered to end a victim or perpetrator’s tenancy due to the special circumstances of the victim’s case. However, NCAT can still order the victim to compensate the landlord.