Residential tenancy protection for domestic violence victims
New residential tenancy protection for victims of domestic violence has been introduced.
Under changes to the Residential Tenancies Act 1995 people may be able to leave violent relationships without facing financial penalties from their residential tenancy agreement.
Victims can apply to the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT) to:
- stay at the rented home and have the perpetrator leave
- leave the rented home and be removed from the rental agreement.
What to do if you need to move because of domestic violence
Contact Consumer and Business Services (CBS) tenancy advisory service on telephone 131 882.
If you are a tenant or a co-tenant in private rental, community or public housing then you can apply to the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT) for an order to:
- terminate the tenancy
- allow you to stay in the property without the perpetrator
- leave the property and terminate your responsibility under the tenancy
- stop a landlord from listing your details on a Residential Tenancy Database (tenant ‘blacklist’) for damage caused by the perpetrator
- determine how the bond will be refunded.
How the Tribunal makes a decision
The Tribunal usually makes its decision in two steps:
- The Tribunal will need to see evidence of either an intervention order issued by a Court or a report from SA Police or a specialist domestic violence service provider.
- The Tribunal must consider the impact on all tenants and the landlord.
- If you want the tenancy to be terminated, and another tenant or the landlord does not agree with your application, then the tenancy can only be terminated if the Tribunal decides that you would suffer more hardship than the other person.
- If you want to remain in the property without the perpetrator, the Tribunal must decide whether you can continue to meet your obligations as a tenant eg pay the rent. The Tribunal must also take into account any views put forward by the landlord.
Your safety at the hearing
The Tribunal has at least one security guard present at all times to ensure the safety of people at the Tribunal.
Generally the guard may walk in and out of a hearing but can be present in the room the whole time if there are security concerns for a particular hearing.
Where an intervention order is in place, the hearing will be held in separate rooms, connected by teleconference facilities. The Tribunal Member will normally move from one room to the other to take evidence from each person.
Assistance at the hearing
You may have a family member or friend to assist you, or you may arrange for someone to advocate for you at the hearing.