Commissioner's blog: Evictions - know your rights before you leave
Some Western Australians may be worrying about keeping a roof over their heads, as competition continues to remain high for rental properties right across the state.
Consumer Protection has been fielding 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. Some tenants are also facing the prospect of unemployment, which is adding to the distress that an eviction may cause.
We want tenants to know that they cannot be forcibly evicted from a property straight after receiving an eviction notice, as there is a process involved in ending a tenancy. Landlords must give 30 days’ notice to end a fixed-term tenancy and 60 days’ notice to conclude a periodic lease.
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.
Any tenant who believes they may suffer hardship as a result of an eviction can 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.
Tenants being forced out illegally should know they have rights. 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.
If a tenant doesn’t have anywhere to go following eviction, the Emergency Relief and Food Assistance Service (ERFRAS) is a good first option – this service provided by Anglicare connects people with emergency relief assistance, financial counselling and other community help. If it’s a crisis situation, we have an online guide to help tenants find a service that may be able to help.
Anyone who believes they are being unlawfully evicted should contact us to report the matter and to receive advice and assistance. Please contact us on 1300 304 054 or by email to email@example.com.
Executive Director for Consumer Protection