Tenant giving notice of intention to vacate

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How to give notice

If you are a tenant with either a fixed-term or a month-by-month tenancy, and you want to vacate (end the tenancy and leave the property), it is your responsibility to give the landlord written notice that you wish to vacate.

Providing written notice is compulsory and you are advised to use the following form:

Notice to landlord of rented premises (Word, 1.9MB)

You must deliver this notice to the landlord either by:

  • post
  • electronic communication (such as email), if the landlord has given consent to receive notices and other document this way, or
  • hand (giving it personally to the landlord). If the landlord is unavailable, you can leave the notice with a person who appears to be aged over 16 and residing or employed at the landlord's usual or last known home or business address.

The written notice of intention to vacate must:

  • be signed by you or your representative
  • give the date you plan to leave, taking into account the notice period required (see Notice periods below).

If you give notice but do not leave, the landlord can apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) for an order that you move out.

Give notice via our RentRight app

You may also notify the landlord of your intention to vacate through the ‘Email Property Manager’ section of our free RentRight app. You must seek authorisation from the landlord or property manager in order to communicate via electronic communications, including the service of notices generated by the app. For more information, view our RentRight app page.

Termination by agreement

Either you or your landlord may negotiate with the other party to end a lease. In such cases, it is recommended that you put any agreement reached in writing.

If you do not give notice (if you break the lease)

If you do not give notice or want to end an agreement earlier than the required notice period (break the lease), you may be liable for fees and charges.

The Residential Tenancies Act 1997 does not require a tenant to pay fees and charges in relation to breaking a lease (terminating a rental contract before the end of the contract). However, the Act does provide that, if a tenant causes financial loss to the landlord, the landlord/agent may seek compensation by applying to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT). This may be a term of the rental contract.

Fees for breaking the lease

If you break a lease, you may have to pay some of the following:

Rent

You may have to pay rent until the end of your lease or until a lease with a new tenant begins.

Re-advertising costs

You may have to pay reasonable costs for the landlord/agent to re-advertise the premises.

Re-letting fees

Re-letting fees are usually calculated on a pro-rata basis, whereby the number of months left on the lease will determine the pro-rata percentage applied to the payment.

For example, if the re-letting fee is $450 and there are six months left on a 12-month fixed-term lease, you would have to pay a pro-rata amount of 50% of that fee ($225).

Details about re-letting fees to be charged may be included in a lease agreement or in information provided at the start of a tenancy.

You should check your individual lease agreement to see if it contains details on how these charges are calculated.

Private leases

If the property is leased privately (where there is no estate agent managing the property), the landlord cannot charge a re-letting fee because agent fees do not apply to that lease agreement.

Excessive lease-breaking fees

If you believe that you have been charged an excessive lease-breaking fee and are unable to resolve the issue with your landlord or agent, you can apply to VCAT for a determination. For more information, visit the Residential Tenancies Hub of the VCAT website.

Ending the lease due to severe hardship

In cases of severe hardship, VCAT may also end a fixed-term tenancy early. You will need to provide evidence of the hardship - for example, bank statements, income statements or proof of medical condition.

Final meter readings

If you have separate meters, you should let the utility providers know in advance when you will be moving out. Otherwise, you may be charged for services in the next billing period.

Notice periods

If you are a tenant and want to leave your rented premises, the following table shows the minimum notice period you need to give depending on the reason.

Note: from 4 January 2016, Australia Post has introduced three different speeds for mail delivery – express, priority and regular. Allow for mail delivery times which reflect the service you choose when sending a Notice to vacate a rental property.

If the notice is being delivered by mail to a country area, you should factor in an extra two days in addition to standard delivery times.

For more information about postal delivery options and times, visit the Australia Post website.

Visit the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal website to help calculate the total minimum days to allow, depending on the notice period required and the method of delivery.


Reason for leaving a tenancy

Minimum notice required

Before you move in (that is, before you pick up the keys), the premises are:

  • not vacant
  • not in good repair
  • totally destroyed
  • partly destroyed and unsafe
  • unfit for human habitation
  • not legally available as a residence
  • not available for occupation.

Immediate

(You should advise the landlord of the problem and allow a reasonable time for a response before giving notice that you will not be moving in. This will help avoid a dispute later)

After you move in the premises become unfit for human habitation or are destroyed to such an extent that they become unsafe.

Immediate

The landlord has given you a notice to vacate because:

  • planned reconstruction, repairs or renovations cannot be properly carried out unless you vacate
  • the premises are to be demolished
  • the landlord wants to do something else with the premises (for example, use them for a business)
  • the landlord, a member of the landlord's immediate family or a dependent will be moving in
  • the premises are to be sold or offered for sale
  • a government authority owned the premises and needs them for public purposes
  • the landlord is a government housing authority and the tenant no longer meets its eligibility criteria
  • no specified reason.

14 days

However, if the lease is for a fixed term, the end date on the notice of your intention to vacate cannot be before the end date of the lease.

If you provide a date earlier than this, you are breaking the lease and may be subject to lease-break fees.

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

14 days

The landlord 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

You require temporary crisis accommodation.

14 days

However, if the lease is for a fixed term, the end date on the notice of your intention to vacate cannot be before the end date of the lease.

If you provide a date earlier than this, you are breaking the lease and may be subject to lease-break fees.

You require special or personal care.

Special or personal care means assistance with:

  • bathing, showering or personal hygiene
  • toileting
  • dressing or undressing
  • meals
  • physical help with mobility problems
  • supervision or assistance
  • supervision in dispensing medicine, and/or
  • substantial emotional support in a health or residential service.

14 days

However, if the lease is for a fixed term, the end date on the notice of your intention to vacate cannot be before the end date of the lease.

If you provide a date earlier than this, you are breaking the lease and may be subject to lease-break fees.

You are offered public housing.

14 days

However, if the lease is for a fixed term, the end date on the notice of your intention to vacate cannot be before the end date of the lease.

If you provide a date earlier than this, you are breaking the lease and may be subject to lease-break fees.

You are a public tenant and receive a 90-day Notice to Vacate because you no longer meet eligibility requirements.

14 days

However, if the lease is for a fixed term, the end date on the notice of your intention to vacate cannot be before the end date of the lease.

If you provide a date earlier than this, you are breaking the lease and may be subject to lease-break fees.

You have a written offer of public housing.

14 days

However, if the lease is for a fixed term, the end date on the notice of your intention to vacate cannot be before the end date of the lease.

If you provide a date earlier than this, you are breaking the lease and may be subject to lease-break fees.

You have been given a 60-day or 120-day notice to vacate by the landlord.

14 days

However, if the lease is for a fixed term, the end date on the notice of your intention to vacate cannot be before the end date of the lease.

If you provide a date earlier than this, you are breaking the lease and may be subject to lease-break fees.

Any other reason.

28 days

However, if the lease is for a fixed term, the end date on the notice of your intention to vacate cannot be before the end date of the lease.

If you provide a date earlier than this, you are breaking the lease and may be subject to lease-break fees.

Last updated: 16/02/2017

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