Forced to leave a rental property? We want to hear your experience

We want to hear your stories about being evicted or otherwise forced out from rental properties. Were you given a reason, and did you feel the process was fair? Have you ever been in a situation where you believe you were evicted for asking for repairs or other changes to the rental property?

CHOICE wants to know about unfair evictions, and the impact of constantly moving on renters’ sense of community, stability, and the ability to plan ahead. The experiences you share will be useful for us to understand the challenges renters face, so please have your say below.


I can speak from the other foot. As a landlord, we did issue a termination notice for our last tenants. The reason being is we wished to sell the property and needed to carry out some repairs/maintenance to tidy it up before placing on the market. Our tenants were okay with this as we gave them more time than the statutory minimum in Queensland to vacate the house. We also explained why we needed the premises vacated and they were happy to leave rather than being forced out at the end of the selling settling period (if the new owner didn’t want them as tenants on purchase).

It is difficult as both the tenants and landlords as each has their own interests in the property.

Something which we did and believe is very important it to communicate with the tenants. We gave them an early heads up and also explained what was going on. This can be difficult if one uses a property management/agent to manage the tenancy as many want the landlords to be arms length from the tenants…this is possibly something to consider if one needs to select a property manager - if and how they allow interaction with the tenants.

If we had turned up on their doorstep unannounced and given them a termination notice, I am sure that their response and reaction would have been quite different.


Better get yourselves comfy. This could take a while.

Over the years I’ve had one house destroy itself, a terminated lease, and various notices to vacate the premises after the lease expires. In all cases we paid our rent on time, didn’t damage anything and kept the yards looking respectable.

The first incident was about 15 years ago. I was living in Orange NSW with my then partner and our young children. At the time we were living in a NSW Housing Dept property.

The Dept had recently sent some painters around to do the inside of the house, who almost burnt it down after smoking on the property when we weren’t looking and then walking a still lit cigarette butt onto a tarp on the laundry floor which subsequently caught fire. They also used our bedroom curtains to cover up our double bed, and as a result got them spattered with lots of paint. As compensation we were handed the ugliest and loudest, orange and red striped curtains that the painters could find.

Not long afterwards, the Dept decided that our hot water service in the roof was outdated, so they sent some plumbers around to put a new hot water service in the backyard. When all this was finally over we took a 2 week trip to Queensland to visit a friend during school holidays. When we got back the house was an indoor swimming pool and all our belongings had been destroyed. Apparently our neighbour had noticed a large volume of water gushing out of a gap in our wall near the roof, but he didn’t actually do anything about it until it had been gushing out for about 3 days. He then decided it might he an idea to turn the water off for us. By this time the ceiling had enough damage done to it that it eventually caved in and the plumbing in the roof crashed down through our hallway closet which had quite a lot of irreplaceable photos and home movies stored in it.

The dept refused to offer us any compensation and even went as far as sending us a bill for the cost of asbestos removal before they could demolish the place. We managed to get that bill wiped from our account at least. We were told that the housing officer in charge of our area had been sacked and should never have sent us the bill to start with.

We decided to move to Queensland and ended up in a private rental through a very nice real estate in Nambour.

After a year, the real estate changed ownership and although we had always paid our rent on time, made sure the place was spotless for routine inspections and always looked after the place, the new owners treated us like we were vermin scum. They even forced us to pay extra on top of our regular rent for the cost of the rent books that we had to use in order to pay the rent at their bank.

During the changeover, we were already about six weeks in front with our rent, but they decided that seeing as we had paid this to the previous real estate owner then that was no longer to be taken into consideration and they started to send us notices that we were now behind in the rent. We eventually had to go to the bank and have them validate that our previous rent receipts were legitimate and the new real estate owners reluctantly adjusted their records.

The house we were renting came with a very large shed in the backyard, almost big enough to be a house itself. It was a good play area for our kids. We then got a letter to say that the owners of the house had arrived back in Australia after their world trip had to be cut short due to financial difficulties and that workmen would arrive shortly to put a wall up inside the shed so they could store their belongings in there. The wall went up and we ended up with less than a quarter of the space we started with. On top of that the house owners then started making frequent trips to the shed, through our backyard, unannounced, and they eventually put a padlock on it so that we couldn’t even access our own belongings that were stored in what little space we had left. A space that the house owners had to walk through to get to their own newly created space.

We still had 3 months left on our renewed 12 month lease when the owners decided they wanted to move into the house themselves, which meant the real estate needed a reason to evict us, instead of just waiting for the lease to expire. A routine inspection was organised and the real estate went over the house with a fine tooth comb.

At first the woman doing the inspection tried to tell us that the oven was filthy. We had just cleaned the thing and had to point out that it was in better condition now than when we had moved in, and had to produce the condition report to prove it. She then started complaining about a spider web on the wall, which didn’t exist. She just about had her face pressed up against the wall to see the thing, which we could not see at all.

A few days later we had a notice that said we had leaves on the ground in the backyard, spiderwebs all over the walls and a filthy oven and that they’d be back in a week to see that we’d fixed it. The backyard was more or less a forest of very large and very old trees which were dropping quite a lot of leaves due to it being autumn. The grass was cut and we’d not long raked the leaves up, so what leaves there were had fallen that day.

We knew that they were looking for an excuse to get rid of us before the lease had expired so we went to the tenancy tribunal and they said it would be a waste of their resources fighting this one because the lease was due to expire soon anyway and they would just choose not to renew it. They said the best we could do would be to find somewhere else to live as soon as possible.

When the real estate woman returned a week later, she had another woman with her, no doubt to be a “witness” to back up whatever bullcrap she was going to put in her records about us. I had my own backup of having a video camera to record everything as proof to show that whatever they’d decide to say was wrong with the place was actually nothing but grubby lies.

No matter how much they demanded that I turn the camera off, I left it on. A few days later we got our eviction notice because a few leaves had fallen into the backyard again. When we did go, we had to move back to NSW and stay at a relatives place until we could get another Housing Dept place because the real estate would not give us a good reference, even though we always paid our rent on time, kept the house clean and in good repair, and apart from the handful of leaves they found, kept the grounds neat and tidy.

They even managed to keep our bond money saying that we’d left the place filthy, even though we washed and scrubbed everything in order to get our bond money back. It was especially hard on our boys because they’d all been diagnosed as being on the Autism spectrum about 6 months earlier and we’d established some really good special needs classes at the local school, including some early intervention classes which were really helping them to cope with the world. All of their routines were thrown out the window, which at those ages can be devastating for a persononthe Autism Spectrum. The house owners and the new real estate agent owners just didn’t care.

Fast forward to 2010(ish) and I’m now living with my new partner in Hobart, her two children and my eldest boy. A very large crack appeared in the door frame of one of the bedrooms which was right next to the bathroom.

Apparently the pipes had started leaking in the wall and the wood was beginning to warp. The real estate sent a handyman who told them that nothing could be done without ripping the wall out to get at the pipe and even then, that might not be what the problem was. It could be a leak in the roof.

Anyway, the house owner and the real estate decided for one reason or another that we’d just have to live with the gaps. Of course this caused an awfully large amount of condensation in both the bathroom and the bedroom during winter and no matter how much we tried, we couldn’t control the mould that was beginning to take over around the gaps and also in the ceiling of both rooms.

We eventually found ourselves needing a larger house after we ended up with 2 of my boys in our care. We couldn’t have the boys sharing a room as their Autism was making it difficult for them to be in each other’s personal space so much. At least we got glowing references this time.

The real estate did try and claim our bond money due to the mould problem until I reminded them that it was only mouldy due to their own lack of action after we had repeatedly told them about the problems with the gaps. They did force us to pay $60 to have someone come and try to remove what we couldn’t though before they’d sign the papers to release the bond to us.

The next house had a granny flat on the bottom floor, so it was perfect for my partner’s eldest son who is an adult on the Autism Spectrum. It was in a bad state of repair though and we had to give it a good clean out before he could use it. We had told the real estate that we would be placing our eldest boy in the flat area while the rest of us lived upstairs in the house before we signed the lease.

One morning our neighbour told us that the lady who owned our house was talking to him as she walked by (unannounced), and that she was horrified when he told her that we had our eldest boy (in his 20s) living in the flat because apparently it was supposes to be a rumpus area only. This was news to us and to the real estate agent who told us she could not dictate what each room was to be used for on the property.

She was also horrified that we used the indoor stairs to get from the flat to the house. The real estate turned up the next week with amendments to our lease which stated that we were not allowed to use the internal stairs, we had to keep the door at the top of the internal stairs locked at all times, and that the oven and fireplace in the downstairs flat were not to be used. We didn’t want to jeopardise our chances of having the lease renewed so reluctantly agreed.

Over the course of the next 12 months, repairs were required. One of the upstairs bedrooms ended up with a fizzling light socket and the electrician decided that the wiring in the house was old and dangerous and recommended that the entire house be rewired. The roof in the garage leaked and looked as if it was about to collapse. Other problems involved power points and lights failing to work after a time, even after changing the bulbs, and nothing ever got fixed.

Eventually, we were given a notice to vacate when the lease expired to let the owner do all the repairs at once and completely renovate the downstairs flar. The real estate was absolutely disgusted that the house owner would treat such excellent tenants in this manner. We got glowing references and found a new house quite quickly. At least we had permission to move out early without facing any penalties for breaking what was left of the lease.

Within a week the old house was back up for rent via a different real estate and had new tenants very soon afterwards. There was no way that they had time to do all the repairs and renovations that were supposed to be the reason behind why we didn’t get our lease renewed. In fact, the house was put up for sale a year later and from the photos supplied with the online listing, it was pretty much in the same condition that it was in when we moved out.

So, onto our next house. We had no issues with this one at all and were told when we signed the lease that the owner was an investment property owner who just wanted tenants he could trust to look after the place so he could keep renewing the lease for as long as they wanted to stay, so it was very disappointing when we were three quarters of the way through our lease that a for sale sign was placed in the street next to our driveway.

The owner wanted to sell, so our lease would not be renewed at all. We were also informed that the owner would not let us break the lease early if we found a new house because she was relying on the income from us. We were also informed that there would be daily open houses, which we knew we had the right to refuse. We did have to put up with one person a day coming to look through the house, as was allowed by law providing we had adequate written notice. Again we got good references, so we eventually found the house we are currently renting, which has changed real estates twice since we moved in about 18 months ago.

We did have to pay for repairs to a couple of holes in the wall in the old house that we didn’t know about before we could get our bond back though. Pretty sure it was damaged after we moved out by someone coming to look at the house as a potential buyer. After we’d moved, the owner of the old house started to panic as she still didn’t have a buyer and no longer had any rent coming in and she actually had the real estate call us to see if we were interested in signing a new lease AFTER we’d moved out and got lumped with a repair bill for something we didn’t do.

Hopefully we’ll be able to stay in this house for as long as possible. It’s a pain having to keep moving every few years.


I have been a Landlord for 30 years and generally had a good experience only had a few problem tenants and one deadbeat but most others were good with typical periods in my property of around 5-8 years.

But for advocating for greater tenancy rights “I would be careful for what you wish for as it may come true”.
There is pressures rising for enhanced renters rights in most states and with the emergence of alternatives uses for rentable properties like AirBNB means that Landlords may become more inclined to sell up or move their properties onto alternative platforms making them no longer available for longterm rentals.

I think we are seeing evidence of this phenomena now with evaporating rentals in most cities and rising homelessness. Choice might be better to spend its considerable consumer lobbying efforts to limit the spread of AirBnb and the like into tradition rental market. Iam sure the nation’s hoteliers will lend a hand.


Thanks for the input so far everyone. Thanks for sharing your story in detail too @NubglummerySnr, it really helps inform our activities.


I’ve been reading recently that the politicians in NSW are considering changing the “no fault” termination of rented accommodation. Many years ago I lived in London and a Labour Government at the time changed the rental laws allowing security of tenure to tenants. They could not be given a notice to leave.
As a result landlords lost control of their investment and were not allowed to terminate a tenancy without sufficient grounds, e.g. non-payment of rent, so, once a property was vacated, they immediately reviewed whether it was worth staying in the rental market. As soon as they were able to, therefore, many small landlords decided to sell their vacant properties.
The result of this caused the supply of rental property in London to drastically reduce. This did prove to be a bonus for foreign travellers, e.g. Australian back-packers, as they would be preferred over locals. Landlords expected them to move on.
As you would expect,.property that was available to rent became very expensive and hard to find.
Before supporting any changes being made to laws affecting the investment property market I suggest that alterations to the present free market be very carefully thought out. We might end up with something that we hadn’t wished for.


As someone who has been renting for 25yrs and never really had issues, I still think that landlords have too much power, and not enough power at the same time.

I think there needs to be more legal protection for tenants from dodgy rea’s and landlords. There needs to be more security for tenants in the lease, and it needs to be easier for a tenant to break a fixed term lease for cause. The various “rent review” provisions need scrapping, allowing a landlord to automatically increase rent (especially when market rent is stable or decreasing) every 6 months is wrong.

If a tenant is paying rent on time, not damaging the property etc then I believe the lease should be compulsory renewed if the tenant wants it to be, outside of a few very specific reasons. Any rent increases should be very strictly tested.

By the same token, I believe it should be much easier for a landlord to evict a tenant who is not paying rent on time or damaging the property etc. At the moment it’s way too difficult and takes too long to evict a tenant who is not paying, and that’s not fair on the landlord. They can continue to rack up a substantial debt for too long before a court order is finally obtained.

Summary: more protection for good tenants, less for bad tenants. System is skewed the wrong way at the moment.


I agree with part of your “Summary” Dr. Spock where referring to bad tenants. However,if the terms of a fixed-period lease can’t be relied on by a landlord, what is the point of it. If, as you suggest, the lease has to automatically be renewed each time how does the landlord obtain vacant possession if he wants to sell or improve the property. Permanent security of tenure for tenants would be the end of private investment in the sector.
With regards to the amount of rent that a landlord requires to renew a lease - It’s been my experience that if you have a good tenant who looks after the property and pays his rent on time you ensure that if a higher rent is necessary on renewal (as you would expect after a year or so) it would be a reasonable amount so as to encourage him to stay. This is simply a good business strategy.

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@DrSpock says outside a few specific reasons, those could include sale of the property and renovations (though I think painting or adding a porch should not provide the reason). Yet there are so many investment properties selling without tenants could also backfire.

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At the moment fixed term leases are completely one sided in favour of the landlord. Tenants are not allowed to end the lease early for any reason outside of the owner systematically breaching. Break lease fees are absolutely ridiculous and don’t usually reflect the actual loss. Why should a tenant pay advertising costs? The owner has to advertise at the end of a tenancy anyway.

If you need to break a lease early there is no incentive for the owner or agent to find new tenants as they’re getting their money anyway. Sure, legally they have to mitigate their loss but it’s up to the tenant to prove in court that they’re not, and it’s a very hard thing to do.

Rent increase clauses are one sided and unfair. Most agents just use them as an automatic $20 increase every 6 months, regardless of market conditions. The tenant has to challenge it in court if they disagree, again a hard thing to do. And if you do your just going to be kicked out at the end of your lease anyway. If I sign a 12 or 24 month lease I can’t break, why should the landlord be able to unilaterally keep increasing the rent.

Tenants have little power to get anything done - even if they’re backed legally, cause any trouble or insist on repairs etc and they’ll just kick you out at the end of your lease.

If the owner decides to sell the property you have a lease on they expect to be able to show people through at short notice as often as they like, disrupting your quiet enjoyment of the property.

Just property management in Bunbury insist on 3 month’s notice of your intentions at the end of the lease - legislation only requires 21 days. I rented on an initial 6 months lease with them, and after 3 month’s(half way into the lease!!) they sent a notice requiring me to let them know if I’m renewing or leaving. I told them I wasn’t sure and I’d let them know with the required notice, but they kept sending warning letters, threatening to breach etc… completely contrary to the Act. I’m lucky enough to know the law, but I shudder to think about less informed people being taken advantage of.

This is why I think good tenants need more rights and protections.


We came to our current house more than 15 years ago. The back fence, and the retaining wall it was standing on, was falling down, but as we were allowed to keep our outside only dog, I just requested that the fence be replaced when it became necessary. When it did become necessary, the landlord expected us to be free labourers to carry bricks, then made the excuse that the neighbour wouldn’t share in the cost of the fence being replaced on top of the wall, making it no longer a safe yard for the dog. That was the most - in fact almost the entire - work done on the property in the time we have been here, apart from safety issues with electrics and toilet. After paying the rent on time or early every fortnight, giving the landlord guaranteed income, he has decided to renovate and join the boom in airbnb, though the house is not inner city or close to shops - or the luxury type of home needed to fetch a high rent.

Fortunately I have been oversea several times in the last few years, so he has given us plenty of warning to vacate. Shame that till 3 months ago, we had to cope with a broken stove with rusting hotplates - now there is a nice new one in its place. A peace offering?

I am taking what I hope will be the easier option - put everything I care about into storage and go overseas.

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We were renting a place in Vermont VIC, the air cond was having issue and we sent a request for the landlord to fix it. Nothing happened over many months. We requested Consumer Affairs to do an inspection. Once the landlord received the inspection report he issues a notice to vacate to usd

I brought the case to VCAT claiming the landlord is retaliating because we lodged a complaint. But the agent claimed that the landlord’s family may want to move it. What a lie, during the last week we were there they had an open for inspection and rented out to someone else immediately after we moved out.

I guess the moral of the story is that there is no justice. The landlord will always win.


Take it back to VCAT seeking compensation for your moving costs.

After renting a house for several years, the owner decided not to renew my annual lease, citing that she wanted to renovate. Although I have no evidence, I believe the true reason was because I lodged a complaint to Fair Trading regarding excess dust being produced by the builders who were demolishing the property next door to the house I was renting. At some point in this saga, I was just happened to find out that the property being demolished next door belonged to, and was being demolished by, the brother of the owner of the property I was renting, this brother being in fact a builder and developer. When I had the property I was renting cleaned by professional cleaners, then attempted to get back my bond, some of this bond was withheld due to my leaving some dirt on the top of the kitchen cupboards. It is of course possible the the professional cleaners did not clean the top of the kitchen cupboards. but when they finished, I did not even think to look there, since the top of the kitchen cupboards was at a height considerably above eye level (the top would have been around 2 metres high). I can’t help thinking the holding of part of my bond was merely caused by the owner’s resentment for my getting her builder brother into trouble for his illegal activity. In later months I noticed that the house I was asked to leave was in fact painted on the outside, but it certainly wasn’t renovated, as I has been told it would be.


My contract won’t be renewed: after 15 years of on-the-dot payments, the landlord has decided to renovate. Whether it happens remains to be seen - a new stove 3 months ago [the previous one wasn’t good when I moved in, and the oven has been unusable for several years] is the only non-OH&S related work that has been done since I moved in. Before that, just leaks, electrics and occasionally [when I complained] the gutters were cleaned.
As I have been here so long, the rent is quite low; finding a new tenant, particularly in the current shortage, will net him a nice rise in income without having to cough up for more than a bit of paint and carpet.

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In Victoria the Consumer Affairs department oversee’s the "rental industry " as the overarching authority. The CAV chooses to use a self regulating approach to “managing estate agents”. This is little comfort in the CAV enforcing "The Act"which allows for breach fines of “The Act”. I share my experience pre-Covid.

Was renting a property and was on "WORKCOVER’. Workcover payments were suspended, and so was unable to make weekly rent payment. Sent a letter of “ADVICE” to agent who informed the land lord. Landlord immediately instructed agent to evict me (even though my rent wasn’t in arrears- It was 5 weeks in advance). Agent refused and so landlord appointed new agent. New agent took offence to me defending my rights to privacy as “no agreement to access my private details” existed between his agency. He issued a subsequent “Notice to Evict”. I lodged a hearing with VCAT and subsequently had notice cancelled. Two days later agent issued a new notice claiming the landlord’s family would be moving into the premises. ( I asked the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Equal Rights Commission to assist me) I appealled due to discrimination and the VEOHRC agreed, I had been discriminated against. Agent refused to attend voluntary concilliation! I subesequently moved and although agent had evicted me on grounds of “landlord returning to property”, advertised and re - let the property 3 weeks later. I formally wrote to CAV complaining that “The ACT” had been breached. I received a reply from CAV - In essence it said that they would monitor the agent behaviour, and if he were to breach “The Act” again they would consider taking some action against the agent!

Well I would like to see this line of enforcement with the COVID stuff…CAV are happy to enforce the law if a tenant breaches (through VCAT) …yet when a tenant obeys the law, they will just remind an agent to “do the right thing” where is a tenants rights? I believe they don’t exist in VICTORIA !


Welcome to the community @KW3180,

I moved your post to this topic because being pro-COVID it may reflect longer term endemic issues, not just COVID-19 special cases.

As you are aware the governments formal advice during COVID-19 ‘to negotiate’ with landlords can work a treat or not work at all, landlord dependent, accepting everyone in the ‘food chain’ has their own ‘skin’ in the game excepting those without debts, and they worry about keeping their return on investment, often at others peril.

During normal times it is not so different, excepting as you wrote, the protections in place often seem to be loaded in the landlords favour, in practice if not words.


Thank you for the welcome.

I DO NOT believe the overarching authority for “property managers” will enforce "the residential tenancies " act in Victoria!!

IT IS WRONG that a property manager can blatently break the law. VCAT will in most cases enforce and issue penalties to tenants, but when the law is being broken by agents, Consumer Affairs Victoria will give them multiple chances !! AND not enforce the matter even though it is a Flagrant breach of law!!..I was forced out, (relocation cost = 5k) the agent should have been fined…he got away scott free!! You can’t have it both ways…of course in VICTORIA you can do what ever you want!!


After Last nights 60 minutes interview, of ADEM SOMYUREK and his corrupt colleague Marlene KAIROUZ ( consumer Affairs Minister) I doubt wether Victorians will ever see this kind of JUSTICE!!

I generally am one with the cynics, but exposés sometimes make things happen. As often as not the pollies pull their heads in and arm wave until the storm passes and is mostly forgotten until next time, but.

My suspicion is the only solution is being held hostage by the ATO (tax laws) that are a significant disincentive to build and manage flats for renting as a business. A tax law change could prime that business (it flourishes in the USA) and then the equation changes from flipping property to income streams. A random example… Bad management or poor maintenance yields empty flats so it is self policing because of economics. Anything sold would need to be the entire complex as a going business.