Janet* was unhappy and uncomfortable living in her own home as a result of the verbal and emotional abuse she was enduring at the hands of her tenants – and former friends – Lisa-Marie and Michael. Janet was also dismayed to discover her tenants were growing large quantities of illegal plants on the property.
Janet contacted Caxton Legal Centre’s Seniors Legal and Support Service (SLASS) for assistance, where she was provided with counselling and support in relation to the abuse she had suffered and the offer of a letter giving Lisa-Marie and Michael formal notice to vacate the property. Janet had given them notice to leave informally and firmly believed her long-time friends would respect her request to leave. SLASS was concerned for Janet at this point, particularly given the potential criminal law implications for Janet in knowing about the illegal plants, but followed Janet’s instructions.
Six months later, Lisa-Marie and Michael were still living in Janet’s home and Janet was at breaking point. She believed they had “hacked” her phone and was listening to her phone calls. Janet approached SLASS again and asked for a letter to be written demanding that Lisa-Marie and Michael leave.
SLASS wrote the letter and within a fortnight Lisa-Marie and Michael were gone. Janet was extremely grateful, repeatedly stating how surprised she was that someone actually cared enough to assist her. She was not aware that her matter or her issues had merit or required the level of support that SLASS offered. Janet felt validated and happy that she could once again live safely in her own home.
From the SLASS point of view, this was a particularly vexing case given that there was no formal tenancy agreement, meaning that QCAT and RTA resolution avenues were not an option, and a DV Order with an ‘ouster condition’ could not be obtained due to the lack of relevant relationship. Furthermore, the illegal plant growing on her premises further complicated matters for Janet who did not want to be charged with drug-related offences. Fortunately for Janet, Lisa-Marie and Michael vacated her residence.
* not her real name