Landlord giving notice to vacate

How to give notice

Landlords may end a fixed-term lease before the end date by mutual agreement with the tenant. Agreements should be in writing. Otherwise, a landlord must give the tenant written notice.

Landlords may also end a periodic tenancy either by mutual agreement with the tenant, or by providing written notice. The same reasons and notice periods apply, as if a fixed-term lease were in place (see tables 1 and 2).

Landlords are advised to use the Notice to vacate to tenant/s of rented premises (Word, 760KB).

The notice to vacate must:

  • be sent to the tenant at the premises by registered post or hand delivered (‘hand delivered’ means giving it personally to the tenant or leaving it with a person apparently over the age of 16 and apparently residing or employed at the tenant's usual or last known home or business address)
  • be addressed to the tenant
  • give a specific reason or state that no reason is given in the case of a 120-day notice
  • be signed by the landlord (or their agent)
  • allow the correct amount of time to give the notice
  • give the date for the tenant to leave.

The timeframes for serving a notice to vacate under the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 differ, depending on the reason.

It is against the law to give a tenant a notice to vacate because they were exercising their legal rights, or saying they would do so.

Notice periods

The tables below lists the reasons a landlord may end a tenancy, either before the end of the lease (table 1) or when the lease ends (table 2).

If the notice is being delivered by mail to a country area, an extra two days should be allowed for postal delivery times.

Table 1:

Reasons a landlord can ask a tenant to vacate before the lease ends

Minimum notice required

The tenant or their visitor causes malicious damage to the premises or common areas.

Immediate

The tenant or their visitor put neighbours in danger.

Immediate

The tenant owes at least 14 days’ rent.

14 days

The tenant has breached a VCAT compliance order or compensation order.

14 days

The tenant has breached a duty owed under a duty provision for the third time (and has been given notice twice before to remedy the breach of that duty).

14 days

The premises are being used for illegal purposes.

14 days

Other tenants are brought in without consent.

14 days

The tenant has not paid the bond as agreed.

14 days

The tenant has a child living at the premises when the agreement does not allow children.

14 days

The landlord is a government housing authority and the tenant misled the authority so they could be accepted as a tenant.

14 days

The tenant has engaged in a drug-related activity in public housing.

14 days

If a tenant is on a periodic tenancy and the landlord wants to end the lease, the landlord must provide notice according to the reasons and notice periods noted above.

Table 2:

Reasons a landlord can ask a tenant to vacate, but not before the lease ends

Minimum notice required

The tenancy agreement has a fixed term or set end date and states that the tenant has rented the landlord’s own home and the landlord will occupy it at the end of the lease.

14 days

The landlord is a government housing authority and the tenant has unreasonably refused to seek or accept an offer of alternative accommodation.

30 days

Planned reconstruction, repairs or renovations (for which all necessary permits have been obtained) cannot be properly carried out unless the tenant vacates.

60 days

The premises are to be demolished and all necessary permits have been obtained.

60 days

The landlord wants to do something else with the premises (for example, use them for a business).

60 days

The landlord, a member of their immediate family (including parents and parents-in-law) or a dependant (who normally lives with the landlord) will be moving in.

60 days

The premises are to be sold or offered for sale with vacant possession immediately after the lease ends.

60 days

The premises have been sold and all sale conditions have been satisfied. If a property is sold and settled while under lease, the new buyer must be informed that the tenants will have occupation of the property until the end of the notice period, or until the end of their lease.

60 days

A government authority owns the premises and needs them for public purposes.

60 days

It is the end of a fixed-term lease of fewer than six months.

60 days

It is the end of a fixed-term tenancy agreement of six months or more.

90 days

The landlord is a government housing authority and the tenant no longer meets its eligibility criteria.

90 days

No specified reason.

120 days

Last updated: 22/10/2014

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