Disposal of general goods
The landlord may remove and destroy/dispose of goods left behind if they are:
- not worth any money
- perishable foods
- dangerous or hazardous
The landlord can also remove and destroy or dispose of goods that are worth money, but only if the combined value of the goods is less than the estimated cost of removing, storing and selling all the goods.
The landlord may ask the Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria to assess whether or not the goods can be destroyed or disposed of. The Consumer Affairs Inspector will usually give the landlord a written report.
Storage of general goods
If the goods cannot be destroyed or disposed of, the landlord must store them safely for at least 28 days. The landlord must send you a notice within 7 days of storing the goods, telling you that your goods have been stored and explaining how you can get them back.
If the landlord doesn’t have your forwarding address, they must put a notice in a newspaper circulating in Victoria.
The notice should include the following information:
- where the goods are stored
- removal and storage fees
- daily storage rate
- that after 28 days the goods will be sold at public auction if they are not reclaimed
- the date that the goods are due to be sold at auction
- the auction time and date if known
- that you can only reclaim your goods after repaying the landlord the reasonable costs of removal and storage
Reclaiming general goods
You (or the person who owns the goods if they belong to someone else) can reclaim the goods at any time before they are sold, after paying the above costs. The landlord must return the goods to you once you have paid these costs, even if you owe them money for other reasons such as rent arrears.
If the landlord or their agent refuses to give you back your goods or documents or they are asking you to pay unreasonable costs to reclaim your goods or documents then you can apply to the Tribunal and ask the Tribunal to resolve the dispute. Just make a general application to VCAT.
It is an offence for the landlord to refuse to return your goods or personal documents after you’ve paid the relevant costs. If the goods have already been sold, you should contact us for advice.
Sale of general goods
If you don’t reclaim your goods within 28 days of them being stored, the landlord can sell them at public auction. The auction must be advertised in a newspaper circulating in Victoria at least 14 days beforehand. If the goods have been sold within 8 weeks of being stored, the landlord can use the proceeds of the sale to recover the amount that you owe them, whether that money is owed for selling and storing your goods, or owed under an order made by the VCAT for rent arrears or compensation.