Belongings left behind
If you leave any personal documents or goods behind, you should make arrangements to collect them. If these arrangements cannot be made, your landlord may request an inspection from Consumer Affairs Victoria. The inspector will advise the landlord what to do with the goods.
Your landlord cannot refuse to give back any of your belongings, even if you owe rent. If you suffer a loss because your landlord did not comply with the legislation in withholding your goods, you can apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) for compensation. If your landlord has complied with the legislation and suffered a loss through the cost of storing and auctioning your goods, they can also apply to VCAT to be compensated.
Personal documents include:
- official documents
- still and video cameras
- computer hard drives
- any other documents a person would reasonably be expected to keep.
When personal documents are left behind your landlord must:
Take reasonable care of the documents for at least 90 days
Let you reclaim the documents after you pay back any money the landlord had to spend to remove and store them.
If a landlord complies with their legal requirements and you do not claim the documents, your landlord can dispose of
them. Your landlord can then apply to VCAT to be compensated for the cost of looking after and removing the documents.
Your landlord can dispose of:
- Perishable foods
- Dangerous goods
- Goods of no monetary value.
All other goods must be stored unless removal, notifi cation, storage and auction costs would be more than auction proceeds. Landlords and agents can assess whether, under the Residential Tenancies Act, the goods can be disposed of or must be stored. Alternatively, they can ask Consumer Affairs Victoria to inspect the goods and make a formal assessment.
Goods that must be stored
If you leave goods behind that are not allowed to be disposed of, your landlord must:
- Store the goods for 28 days
- Notify you within seven days that the goods can be collected
- Let you reclaim the goods after you have paid the costs to cover any reasonable expenses incurred by them.
Contact Consumer Affairs Victoria for more information:
1300 55 81 81
113 Exhibition Street, Melbourne