03 Jan 2018

What to do if you are informed of a domestic violence situation

Every person has a right to feel safe and live free from violence.And whilst it can be a difficult situation to become involved in, particularly when we are appointed by the client who may not have any emotional investment in their tenant, we must ensure that we as

professional property managers handle the situation with empathy and in the best interests of all parties.

 

If a tenant approaches you to advise of a DV situation they are in, don’t automatically expect that there will be police involvement as many victims are afraid to involve the authorities.  Ask the tenant what it is that they need from the landlord and your agency – they may be seeking mutual agreement to terminate the tenancy or a change in tenancy arrangements.

 

Once you understand what the tenant is hoping to achieve, you have a starting point to communicate and negotiate with your client.  It is important to know that the RTRA Act gives rights to people in a domestic relationship even if they are not a named tenant on the agreement.

The tenant will also have the ability apply to QCAT to seek an order to:

 

• be recognised as the tenant

• remove the name of the person who has committed an act of domestic and family violence from the tenancy agreement

• restrain the person who has committed an act of domestic and family violence from causing further damage or injury

• Prevent their personal information being listed in a tenancy database where a breach of the agreement is a result of the actions of another person who has committed an act of domestic

or family violence, or

• end your tenancy agreement altogether.

 

Sometimes it is a good measure of faith for all parties to negotiate on terms without the need for QCAT, however this is not always practical.  The court will decide regarding the tenancy based on the evidence supplied by the victim and this order will be enforceable. If the tenant is awarded an end to the tenancy due to a DV situation it is unlikely you would list the tenant on a database for this reason alone, and this would not be an air act. However, if the tenant is awarded tenancy termination they are more than likely (unless incorporated into the order) required to vacate the property, leaving it in the same condition as it was let allowing fair wear and tear.

 

You are engaged by the client and should not be seen to be colluding with the tenant under any circumstance, however you should show empathy for the tenant and direct them to where they can get assistance from. Seek mutual consent and self-mediation as a first step in all possible dispute situations but do not get personally involved.The RTA has provided a list of resources

that can be given to the tenants in a DV situation:

 

DV Connect (for women):

1800 811 811

DV Connect (for men):

1800 600 636

Women’s Legal Aid (located in Brisbane and Woodridge):

1300 65 11 88

Women’s Legal Service or areas outside Brisbane

3392 0670 | 1800 677 278

Integrated Indigenous Strategy Unit – Legal Aid Queensland:

1300 650 143

Immigrant Women’s Support Service:

3846 3490

 

Brisbane Domestic Violence Advocacy Service:

3217 2544

Disability Awareness Line (statewide):

3224 8444 or 1800 177 120 (TTY 3896 3471)

Elder Abuse Prevention Unit:

1300 651 192

Tenants Queensland:

1300 744 263

Department of Justice and Attorney-General:

www.justice.qld.gov.au

 

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