Clarifying family and domestic violence tenancy law concerns - Landlords' bulletin 34

This publication is for: 
Landlord / lessorProperty industry

21 August 2019

In this issue:

  • Clarifying family and domestic violence tenancy law concerns
         • Serving notice to co-tenants
         • Storing keys and documents
         • Managing tradespeople
         • When a perpetrator wants to terminate their interest in a lease
         • Helpful resources 

Clarifying family and domestic violence tenancy law concerns

Since the family and domestic violence (FDV) changes to residential tenancy legislation came into effect, we’ve received a number of questions regarding FDV situations. 
Read on for some important clarifications and tips to help you prepare to handle an FDV situation appropriately. 

Serving notice to co-tenants

All notices related to FDV circumstances must be served to each co-tenant individually. This includes the concurrent or subsequent notice of an exit property condition report. 

When serving notice of proposed entry, be sure to use the latest version of Form 19 that includes options for FDV-related circumstances. 

Storing keys and documents

The FDV tenancy laws enable a tenant affected by family violence to change locks and provide you with new keys within seven days unless you are the alleged perpetrator. Further, you are prohibited from giving a copy of the key to anyone that the tenant has instructed you in writing not to.
You should have appropriate procedures in place to safely store the keys and any FDV-related documentation. We recommend the following:
  • Attach a tag to clearly identify the keys.
  • Keep them secured at all times, for example in a separate locked cabinet. 
  • Maintain a record of keys received (when and from whom).
  • Store documentation related to affected tenants and/or alleged perpetrators in a secured location.
  • Restrict access to keys and documents.
At no time should an alleged perpetrator of FDV be given keys that an affected tenant has provided you.

Managing tradespeople

When there’s been family violence at a property and the victim tenant has remained, their safety and security are a prime concern. If tradespeople need to work at the property, take the following precautions to contribute to a safer space for your tenant:

  • Tell the tenant the name of the company that will be attending, in case there is a connection to the perpetrator. 
  • Ensure tradespeople maintain adequate security while working at your property, such as not propping open gates/garage doors. You are responsible for any damage or loss that occurs to a tenant's property while tradespeople are on site, so this is always a best practice. 
Reminder: The FDV laws prevent you from sharing information about a tenant affected by FDV circumstances with anyone.


When a perpetrator wants to terminate their interest in a lease

The only way a perpetrator can initiate termination of their interest in a lease due to FDV circumstances is through an application to the Magistrates Court using court Form 12 - Application for court order. The perpetrator can apply for a court order in situations where there is a family violence order against them or they admit to committing family violence against a co-tenant during the term of the lease. 

A perpetrator cannot use Form 2 - Notice of Termination of Tenant’s Interest in Residential Tenancy Agreement on Grounds of Family Violence to terminate their interest in a lease. This form is exclusively for the use of tenants who have been, or are likely to be subjected to FDV during their tenancy. 

The Application for court order (Form 12) guide explains how to complete the form when making a court application in situations arising from FDV. This guide may be helpful to share with tenants. 

Tenancy WA produces a number of fact sheets for tenants, including for FDV situations. Of particular interest to perpetrator tenants would be Fact Sheet 3: I’ve been accused of family violence, what are my rights and responsibilities in my tenancy?

Helpful resources  

Need more information? We’re here to help!

Contact Consumer Protection by calling 1300 304 054 or by email.




Consumer Protection
Last updated 21 Aug 2019

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