Published: February 2024

Restraining orders

If the rental provider (landlord) tries to enter your home unlawfully or illegally evict you, you can apply for a restraining order to stop them.

Restraining orders in tenancies

A restraining order is an order that tells a person to stop doing something. A restraining order made by VCAT, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, can stop or restrict the rental provider (landlord) or agent from doing something, such as entering your home or contacting you. It can be enforced by the police.

It is an offence for the rental provider or agent to breach a restraining order – and they can be prosecuted. See our page Complaints about rental providers and agents.

VCAT has the power to make an order to restrain a landlord from breaching the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (Vic) or the rental agreement (lease).

Restraining orders for illegal evictions

If the rental provider wants you to move out, they must take all these steps:

  1. Give you a legally valid notice to vacate
  2. Apply to VCAT for a possession order to take back the property.
  3. If VCAT makes a possession order, obtain a warrant of possession from VCAT.
  4. Give the warrant of possession to the police, which the police will use to evict you.

The rental provider or their agent cannot lock you out or personally evict you. Only the police can evict you and only when they are acting on a warrant of possession.

For more information see our page Evictions.

If you are threatened with illegal eviction, you can apply to VCAT for an urgent restraining order. See below for information on making a restraining order application.

Restraining orders for unlawful entry

You have a right to ‘quiet enjoyment’ of your home. This means the rental provider or agent cannot unreasonably interfere with your use of the property. Rental providers and agents have some rights of entry, but they must follow the laws about when and how they can enter your home. If they do not, they are entering your home unlawfully.

For more information see our page Privacy and entry.

If the rental provider or agent are trying to enter your home unlawfully or interfering with your quiet enjoyment of your rented home in any other way, you can apply to VCAT for a restraining order.

Applying for a restraining order

You can apply for an restraining order by going to VCAT in person or you can apply online or by email. Use the link below to apply online.

Apply online to VCAT

An application for a restraining order is made under sections 452 and 472 of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997.

If the reason is urgent, like being threatened with illegal eviction, you should ask for an urgent hearing for a temporary interim order. See the heading on this page ‘Temporary interim orders’.

It is important to include your evidence with the application to show VCAT why it is urgent. This might include, for example, text messages that threaten unlawful entries or illegal eviction.

If applying online or by email, we recommend you mark your application ‘urgent’. Then  call VCAT, on 1300 018 228 to:

  • Confirm they have received your application
  • Tell them you want an urgent interim order
  • Check that the hearing will happen urgently – not, for example, in 3 or 4 weeks
  • Get the hearing date and time sent to you in writing so you have a record

For more information on the application and hearing processes see our pages Applying to VCAT and VCAT.

Temporary interim orders

VCAT can hear urgent restraining order applications on an ex parte basis, which means it can hear your application without the rental provider having to be there.

VCAT can make a temporary interim restraining order, then schedule a full hearing where all parties can attend. At the full hearing VCAT can then assess whether to keep the restraining order in place (affirm) or vary, revoke or make any changes to the order.

If an interim order is made

If VCAT makes an interim restraining order you should place a copy of the document on your front door so the rental provider knows they cannot enter.

Make sure you keep a copy for yourself. And take a photo of the notice on the door as evidence.

You should also send a copy to the rental provider, or agent.

If the rental provider, or agent, tries to breach this order, keep evidence of this to present to VCAT at the full hearing. For example, you could use your phone to record the breaches.

Restraining orders and intervention orders

A restraining order is different from a personal safety intervention order (PSIO) or a family violence intervention order (FVIO). A PSIO is an order made by a magistrate to protect a person from physical or mental harm caused by someone who is not a family member. A family violence intervention order is made to protect a person from a family member who is using family violence.

For information about applying for those orders, see the Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) website.

Intervention orders

Examples of applications

Threat of illegal eviction

James is a resident in a rooming house. The rooming house operator (landlord) sent him a text message telling him he had to move out by the end of the week. James has not been given a notice to vacate.

He asked the rooming house operator why he had to move. The operator told him someone else wanted to move in and would pay more rent, so James had to leave. James received a second text message the next day saying if he was not out by the end of the week, the rooming house operator would change the locks and put his things out on the street.

James can make an urgent application to VCAT for a restraining order to stop the rooming house operator from illegally evicting him.

Below is an example of what details James should include in his application for an urgent restraining order.

VCAT form – example claim

Unlawful attendance and entry

Misha rents a house with a yard. Misha has seen the rental provider (landlord) slowly drive past 3 times. Then the rental provider came to the property, unannounced and without the written notice required by the law. The rental provider told Misha the neighbours, who are his friends, told him the grass was too long so he wanted to come into the backyard to check.

Misha regularly mows the grass and takes care of the yard and told the rental provider this. She asked the rental provider to leave and to not drive past the property or turn up unannounced.

Misha then emailed the agent about the rental provider turning up unannounced and asked that they make sure this did not happen again.

A week later the rental provider turned up again, without any notice, and tried to force his way into Misha’s home. When Misha refused the rental provider became angry and yelled at her that it was his property, and he could come whenever he wanted.

Misha can make an application to VCAT for a restraining order to stop the rental provider from driving past or turning up at her home without giving her proper written notice.

View this extract from the VCAT application form for an example of the claim details Misha could include in her application for a restraining order.

VCAT form – example claim

Misha also has the option to give the rental provider a breach of duty notice and to claim compensation for breaches of her quiet enjoyment.

See our pages Privacy and entry and Landlord breaches and other notices.

Related pages

Privacy and entry
Landlord breaches and other notices
Applying to VCAT
Complaints about rental providers and agents

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