Family Violence and Physical Assault Regulations

Provisions relating to family violence and physical assault are in force. Regulations to support these changes were finalised on 1 December 2022 and came into effect on 29 December 2022.

These regulations enable:
• tenants to withdraw from a tenancy by giving at least 2 days’ written notice to a landlord where a tenant has been subjected to family violence - while a tenant
• landlords to terminate a tenancy with 14 days’ written notice where the tenant physically assaults the landlord, the owner, a member of the landlord’s or owners' family, or the landlord's agent.

Family Violence Regulations

If a tenant has been subjected to family violence, they can provide their landlord with at least two days written notice accompanied by qualifying evidence to withdraw from their tenancy.
Qualifying evidence of family violence can be:
• a statutory declaration from the withdrawing tenant
• a copy of the first page of a Protection Order
• a copy of a Police Safety Order
• a copy of a charging document relating to family violence against the withdrawing tenant or
• a written statement (such as a letter or email) or statutory declaration from a person specified as able to provide evidence of family violence.

These documents must have been issued or completed during the withdrawing tenant’s current tenancy to be used as evidence. Protection Orders issued earlier than this are also permitted if the withdrawing tenant also provides a written statement that they have
been a victim of family violence while in their current tenancy.

When there are other tenants
If there are remaining tenants, the tenancy continues. The withdrawing tenant must give notice of the withdrawal to the other tenants no later than 2 days after their withdrawal from the tenancy. This does not have to be done in person, and no evidence of family violence or other information needs to be shared. A failure to notify any remaining tenants does not invalidate the withdrawal notice.

The amount of rent for which the remaining tenants are liable is reduced for 14 days following the withdrawal. This is based on the number of tenants at the property. After 14 days, the rent will return to the normal rent payable, as per the tenancy agreement. Only the tenants, landlord or property manager will receive the statement or declaration, which they must keep confidential and can only disclose in very limited circumstances. A landlord may not challenge whether the family violence did or did not take place. If the documents are not completed properly or are not completed by a prescribed person, the landlord can challenge the notice by filing an application in the Tenancy Tribunal.

Physical Assault Regulations
If a landlord, owner or property manager has been physically assaulted by a tenant, or a member of their family has, they can end the tenancy with at least 14 days written notice accompanied by qualifying evidence. Evidence can be in the form of a Police charging document in respect of the physical assault or a letter from Police that a charge has been filed in relation to the physical assault by the named tenant.

The landlord does not need to apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to end the tenancy, but they must give written notice that includes certain information and at least one form of evidence of the physical assault. When issuing the notice, the landlord must also advise the tenant in the notice that they have the right to challenge the notice through the Tenancy Tribunal. If a tenant challenges the notice of termination, the tenancy remains in place until the Tenancy Tribunal arrives at a decision.

What is physical assault?
Physical assault is defined as the act of intentionally applying force to the person of another, directly or indirectly.

Other actions a landlord can take
A landlord can apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to end a tenancy if the tenant has caused or threatened to cause substantial damage to the property or assaulted or threatened to assault certain people. These reasons also apply if the tenant causes or permits another person to do the same, for example an associate or family member. This type of application would be treated as an urgent application by the Tenancy Tribunal.

In addition, if a breach of a tenancy is incapable of remedy and is of such an extent that it would be inequitable to refuse to make an order terminating the tenancy, the Tenancy Tribunal may make an order to terminate the tenancy.