Retaliatory eviction – do I have to move out?

Sometimes tenants who are in a dispute with the landlord may find themselves being served with a notice to vacate, requiring them to leave the property. This might happen, for example, where a tenant takes steps to negotiate a lower rent increase than the landlord is requesting, or tells the landlord that they have received legal advice, or is successful in getting an order from the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT) for repairs to be done.

If you think this is what has happened to you it may be what is called a “retaliatory eviction” and you cannot be evicted in those circumstances alone.

If ACAT believes that the eviction is retaliatory, they cannot order that the tenancy be terminated.  Section 57 of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (ACT) states that if you can show that you took reasonable steps to enforce your rights, and the landlord can’t show that they weren’t motivated by that to apply for termination, the Tribunal must not order termination.

For example, if you can show that you tried to negotiate a lower rent increase, and then the landlord issued you a notice to vacate and sought to evict you, the landlord has to show that they weren’t motivated to evict you because of that.  If the landlord can’t show that, the tribunal cannot order termination.

If you aren’t sure if your landlord is trying to evict you in retaliation for you taking steps to assert your legal rights then you can call the Tenants Advice Service for more information and specific advice.

Reviewed: 3/12/13

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