Changing a lock under the circumstances of family and domestic violence does not need to be evidenced and a community housing provider must not ask the tenant to evidence their experiences of family and domestic violence.
As a community housing provider, if you believe a tenant has changed a lock unlawfully, i.e. has changed a lock claiming FDV but is not experiencing FDV, then you will need to lodge a complaint with Consumer Protection. Consumer protection will then investigate if the tenant was impacted by family and domestic violence in order to determine if the locks were changed lawfully or not. Learn more about making a complaint to Consumer Protection here.
The tenant must give you a copy of the new key(s) within seven (7) days. Tenant must pay for the lock change (although it could be funded through a Safe at Home program) or, for Housing Authority tenants, the Government may pay). Community housing providers are welcome to offer to change the locks on the tenant’s behalf if that is an option.
If a tenant fails to give you, as the community housing provider (unless the community housing provider or an employee is the alleged perpetrator), a copy of the key within 7 days, this is classed as an offence under the Residential Tenancies Act 1987 which can result in the Department issuing an infringement Notice. Only a Court can issue the penalties listed in each Act, but where the Department believes there is sufficient basis for a belief that an offence was committed it may issue an Infringement Notice. Currently, the penalty is up to $1000 for failing to provide a copy of the key within 7 days.