26 September 2023

Evicted tenants urged to learn their rights

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With competition continuing to remain high for rental properties in the State, Consumer Protection has received enquiries from tenants who have received eviction notices because their landlord plans to sell the home in order to cash in on rising property prices.

Executive Director for Consumer Protection, Trish Blake said there was a process involved in ending a tenancy and tenants could not be forcibly evicted from a property straight after receiving an eviction notice.

“Landlords must give 30 days’ notice to end a fixed-term tenancy and 60 days’ notice to conclude a periodic lease,” Ms Blake said.

“If a tenant has received a notice of termination, but has not left the premises on the due date, the landlord must then apply to the court for an order for vacant possession of the property.”

She said any tenant who believed they might suffer hardship as a result of an eviction could ask the magistrate to suspend the termination order for up to 30 days.

“It is important to understand that if the magistrate grants the extension, the tenant must continue to pay rent for the duration,” Ms Blake said.

“If a landlord or property manager is making threats, being physically intimidating, changing the locks without their agreement or forcefully entering a property, tenants should in the first instance contact the police.”

A tenant who had nowhere to go following eviction could contact the Emergency Relief and Food Assistance Service as a good first option.

“This service, provided by Anglicare, connects people with emergency relief assistance, financial counselling and other community help,” Ms Blake said.

“If it’s a crisis situation, we have an online guide to help tenants find a service that may be able to help.”

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