Property managers may be forced to think creatively if they suspect their tenants are victims or perpetrators of domestic violence.
Brisbane's Place Estate Agents' property management operations manager, Jess Kindt, said cases of domestic violence do not always end up before the courts, therefore it is important for everyone - property managers and neighbours - to come together to help the tenant in need.
“From a property management perspective, if we feel that someone is in danger, we can ask at any time for a welfare check from the police, which is completely anonymous," she told RPM.
Tenants experiencing domestic violence can apply directly to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal based on an amendment to the Residential Tenancies Act regarding "objectionable behaviour", according to Ms Kindt.
“Basically, ‘objectionable behaviour’ means that either an agent or a tenant who is being harassed can apply directly to the tribunal to have that person taken out of the property and removed from the lease – so the tenant can take action.”
Ms Kindt said victims of domestic violence can remove themselves from the property and lease or have the perpetrator living with them removed.
“The person needs to be recognised as a tenant, as a leaseholder, and then you actually have to request through [the] tribunal to have him removed from the property,” she said.
Ms Kindt gave an example in which a tenant was being physically abused by her partner, and the agency involved the police, a not-for-profit organisation and the tribunal to have the perpetrator evicted and the victim temporarily relocated.
“We got her [the victim] in emergency housing to remove her from the property and then we left him [the perpetrator] living in the property, and then we went through the process of making an urgent application to the tribunal to have him evicted from the property, but allowing her to stay on,” Ms Kindt said.
“The owner was great and really compassionate, he gave her reduced rent and was totally fine with her continuing to live at the property, so it all worked out for the best.”
Ms Kindt said property managers should pay attention to any damage that goes beyond wear and tear, as well as frequent noise complaints if they suspect domestic violence is taking place in their buildings.